It is taking longer than anyone hoped to incorporate a UN treaty on children’s rights into law, a minister has said, but talks with the UK Government are ongoing.
Shirley-Anne Somerville said the Scottish Government is currently drafting detailed amendments to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill.
The Bill was passed at the Scottish Parliament but the UK Government stepped in and referred the legislation to the UK Supreme Court, which ruled it affected powers reserved to Westminster.
Scottish ministers have said they will bring the Bill back to Holyrood, and opposition MSPs have urged them to move faster.
Updating MSPs on Thursday, the Education Secretary said: “The Scottish Government remains absolutely committed to including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Bill into law.”
She said discussions are ongoing with the UK Government and local authorities and the Scottish Government is examining detailed amendments to the Bill.
Labour’s Martin Whitfield quizzed the minister for more detail on how the talks with the UK Government are progressing.
Ms Somerville said the legal issues around the Bill are “exceptionally complex”.
She said: “I appreciate this has taken longer than any of us would have hoped.
“But particularly given the overall approach of the UK Government on issues of the power of this Parliament, I think it is very important we understand the views of the UK Government, we take time to ensure that we do and whether those have implications on how we amend the Bill.
“But I can assure the member that our programme of work to embed children’s rights continues at pace, and that is not reliant on the work of the Bill and that work is continuing.”
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