31 Mar 2016
Kezia Dugdale has been slammed for u-turning on named person legislation – just months after accusing opponents of being “ignorant” for criticising it.
In a newspaper interview this morning, the Labour leader said she now believed there should be a “pause” in rolling out the law, amid concerns of it being intrusive and diluting resources for those most in need.
She said today: “This entire process has been an absolute mess and it has caused a lot of anxiety for parents. Parents have lost confidence in the named person scheme.”
However, she previously said: “There is a sense that a degree of ignorance is behind some people’s opposition to the named person element.”
And her party has also been supportive of the state guardian proposals.
– Former leader Iain Gray said: “We must support the policy, because it is right.”
– Labour member John Pentland said: “The idea of having a named person is basically good.”
– Fellow former MSP Mark Griffin added: “I think we can all agree that it is a positive step for children and families.”
– Neil Bibby stated: “I support in principle the named person role.”
– And Cara Hilton claimed: “Scottish Labour supports it.”
The Scottish Conservatives have opposed the legislation from the outset, but all attempts to block it were thwarted by the SNP and Labour.
The party used its parliamentary business on December 2 to address the matter, but even then Labour sided with the SNP in backing the scheme.
When the issue came to the chamber, Iain Gray said: “The Tories are shamelessly allying themselves for perceived party advantage.”
His colleague in Labour Malcolm Chisholm said later in the debate: “The sad reality is that we still have to address the myths and scaremongering that have stirred up a great deal of anxiety and misunderstanding.”
And in closing, Cara Hilton blamed “Tory members and Tory tabloids” for any negativity surrounding the scheme, adding: “The Scottish Government’s named person policy is well-intentioned and Scottish Labour supports it.”
Recent polls revealed two-thirds of Scots object to the plans, which would see everyone up to age of 18 given a named person.
There is also confusion about whether or not parents will be able to opt out of the programme, with conflicting information coming from the First Minister and the Scottish Government itself.
In fact, attempts by the Conservatives to offer an opt-out were voted down by both Labour and the SNP.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:
“This is a screeching u-turn from Labour, who can’t seem to find consistency on anything at the moment.
“Only yesterday, they abandoned their ludicrous scheme to force the low-paid to queue up for a tax rebate, and now their leader has radically changed her mind on Named Person.
“You only have to look at the gushing quotes from Labour less than four months ago praising the named person scheme in the Scottish Parliament.
“Kezia Dugdale herself even said there was ‘ignorance’ surrounding many of the objections.
“But now she’s decided it was a mess from the start.
“The named person scheme is a shambles, and the Scottish Conservatives have said that from the beginning.
“It’s intrusive and will take resources away from those who need it most.
“That’s why it needs to be scrapped, with or without Labour’s support.”
Notes to editors:
Kezia Dugdale’s remarks on named persons can be read in today’s Daily Mail.
She supported the scheme here:
And several Labour MSPs praised the legislation here:
Yesterday, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson met parents in Perth concerned about the scheme: