Legislation that will introduce a named person for every child in Scotland should be repealed, a former SNP leader has said.
Gordon Wilson spoke out in advance of a Holyrood debate in which the Scottish Conservatives will call for a pause to the roll-out of the scheme.
Mr Wilson said the motion put forward by the Tories – who oppose the Scottish Government policy of assigning a single point of contact such as a teacher or health visitor to look out for the welfare of children under 18 – did not go far enough.
He highlighted a Survation poll that found 64% of Scots believe the named person plan is an “unacceptable intrusion” into family life.
Mr Wilson said: “The SNP government is right to kick out the cynical political amendment calling for a pause in implementation of the named-person legislation lodged by the Scottish Conservatives opposition. It does not go far enough.
“It would be better to go for straightforward repeal. When two-thirds of the population object to it as intrusion into family life, political common sense accepts that stubborn refusal to act will only cause long-term political grief.”
Mr Wilson, a former prosecutor in the juvenile courts, said a solution could be found in the role of the Reporter to the Children’s Panel, which he argued had been weakened over the years.
He added: “That should be solution to the real problems of child safety.
“Teachers, social workers, health workers and the public could refer their worries to the Reporter and the Children’s Panels for scrutiny and action.”
During Wednesday’s debate, the Tories will question whether the scheme, due to come into force across Scotland in August, “is deliverable in the proposed format” and whether that format is in the best interests of children and families.
Debate over the policy was reignited last week following the convictions of Rachel Trelfa, or Fee, and her partner Nyomi Fee for the murder of two-year-old Liam Fee.
The toddler was killed at the family’s home in Fife, one of the areas in Scotland which is piloting the initiative.
Education Secretary John Swinney has said Liam’s death “has absolutely nothing to do with named person” and described attempts to establish a link as “atrocious”.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The named person policy is widely supported by leading children’s charities and welfare organisations as well as by the Scottish Police Federation, who say it will ‘help keep children safer’.
“The legislation was passed with cross-party support and not a single vote against, by 103 votes to zero, in the Scottish Parliament – and it has also been upheld by the highest court in Scotland, including a ruling which said the policy had ‘no effect whatsoever on the legal, moral or social relationships within the family’.
“It is a policy which is aimed at protecting children’s well-being, and is about supporting, not diminishing, the role of parents.”