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March 11 2020

MSPs to vote on putting politicians through same background checks as people working with children

MSPs will vote this week on plans to make politicians undergo the same background checks as people working with children, according to the Sunday Post.

The move comes in the wake of Derek Mackay resigning as Finance Secretary after sending unsolicited messages to a 16-year-old boy.

Lib Dem health spokesman, Alex Cole-Hamilton, described his proposed amendments to the Disclosure (Scotland) Bill as a “common sense safety move”.

They would make it an offence for any MP, MSP or councillor to meet with a child or vulnerable person without undergoing a Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) check.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “My proposal to extend PVG checks to politicians is a common sense safety move designed to ensure there are proper protections in place for children and vulnerable adults who come into contact with them.

“These checks are commonplace in sports clubs, community groups and health and social care settings. There is no good reason to exempt elected politicians and other powerful figures working within political parties.”

He added: “There is often a significant power imbalance between those in elected office and those who encounter them.”