Portree is set to host a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee as MSPs discuss proposals to stop parents relying on the defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’ if they physically punish their child. MSPs will meet a range of groups on the island, before holding a formal meeting with representatives of different faiths and belief systems.
The Committee is currently scrutinising the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) Bill, and the implications of how the law might work if passed. This stage in the Parliamentary process is an opportunity for MSPs to hear from stakeholders, to make recommendations about the Bill, and to come to a view as a Committee on whether or not to support the Bill becoming a law.
The formal Committee meeting, which is open to the public to attend, will be held between 4:00 – 6:00pm on Friday 15 March in the Fingal Centre / Arainn Fhinn, Portree. The public are also welcome to a Question and Answer session in the centre from 3:15pm.
Earlier in the day, Members will also meet with schoolchildren from Bun-Sgoil Ghaidhlig Phort Righ (Portree Gaelic Primary School), Portree High School, young carers and parents’ groups on the island, to hear their views on the proposals.
Ahead of the visit, Committee Convener, Ruth Maguire MSP, said:
“The physical discipline of children is an emotive topic. Those we have heard from so far have held varied and often strong opinions.
“MSPs are very interested in the evidence we are receiving during this crucial phase of the legislative process. We will be taking points of view into account before we report back to the full Parliament on the next steps.”
Ms Maguire added:
“We hope that as many people as possible can make it along to watch our meeting in the Fingal Centre, and that people on Skye take the opportunity to help with the Committee’s deliberations.”
To book a ticket for the Q&A and public meeting, call 0131 248 5200, freephone 0800 092 7600, email or go online.
Media wishing to access any part of the day should contact Greg Black on 07920 296 862.
The Committee has so far heard from academics, children’s groups and charities in Edinburgh.
The Fingal Centre / Arainn Fhinn’s address is Viewfield Rd, Portree, IV51 9ET.
Witnesses expected to appear before the meeting in Portree are:
• James Gillies – the Christian Institute
• Witness TBC – Evangelical Alliance
• Witness TBC – Free Church Continuing
• Mairi Campbell-Jack – Quakers in Britain
• Rev Peter Nimmo – Church and Society Council, Church of Scotland, Minister of Old High St Stephen’s Church of Scotland, Inverness
• Fraser Sutherland – Humanist Society Scotland
Photographs from the day will be available free of charge afterwards. These should also be requested from Greg Black