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Maree Todd: “If we truly want Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up, equal protection is necessary.”

Maree ToddI was delighted to see the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill passed by MSPs last Thursday evening by 84 votes to 29. I realise that it was not universally welcomed, having had representations against it during a recent visit to Orkney, but if we truly want Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up, equal protection is necessary.

The law protects me from assault and children have a right to the same protection – it really is that simple!

I am proud to have worked in support of the Bill on behalf of the Scottish Government. Well done to my Highlands and Islands colleague John Finnie for introducing it. He retires at the end of this term, with a fabulous legacy.

It was remarkable to find consensus – for once – with Lib Dem Alex Cole-Hamilton as we worked through the proposed amendments to the Bill. That is the great thing about such legislation, aimed at protecting children – it can bring folk together across party lines.

In stark contrast to this kind of coming together, it is a source of increasing frustration to look on as some of the parties at Westminster behave in a less than adult fashion as the negotiations around the Brexit shambles reach a critical stage.

The behaviour of the Lib Dem leader is highly concerning. With her stance against Jeremy Corbyn she is at risk of helping trigger a no deal Brexit. It is troubling to see two parties that need to work together apparently unable to do grown-up politics for the sake of the future of the country.

Of vital importance is getting the present Tory government out, not who might lead any temporary government.

Jo Swinson seems more intent on steering her Lib Dems towards propping up the Tories again. For the majority of voters in Scotland, that is not a good look. Of course, many in her 19 strong group, were actual Tories until very recently!

The Lib Dems were quick to proclaim that they were on the rise but polls show support for the party slipping away.

Their claim that if they win a General Election, they have a mandate to revoke article 50 tests their democratic credentials. Particularly since they also say that if the SNP win in Scotland, they have no mandate for an indyref.

The SNP are ready to bring down Boris Johnson and this dangerous, far-right Tory government, secure an Article 50 extension and call a general election.

It’s time that Labour and the Lib Dems got their act together and joined us.

Meanwhile it was no surprise to see the Scottish Tories fall into line behind their Westminster bosses and become card-carrying do-or-die Brexiteers. The ‘Ruthless’ Scottish Tories have steadily abandoned all of their principles to fully sign up to Boris Johnson’s plans – with all the disastrous consequences that would have for Scotland’s jobs, our economy and our public services. No wonder they are running scared of the verdict of the people of Scotland.


This is a regular column by Maree Todd, SNP  MSP. All list MSPs for the Highlands and Islands have been offered the same space in The Orkney News to share their views

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