ESS petition a test for the Scottish Parliament

The petition from Edinburgh Secular Society to remove non-elected voting religious representatives from Scotland’s 32 local authority education committees, now before the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petition’s Committee, is a real test of the independence and autonomy of the Parliament itself.

A report in Christian Today yesterday, 14 February, headlined ‘that Church reps are to stay on Scottish education committees’ is mistaken. The Scottish Government may have backed the status quo but it is not for it to decide.  Following the successful ESS presentation of its petition to the Parliament, the Public Petitions Committee has yet to hear all the evidence and decide whether to back the petition, supported by over 1700 signatures.

Is the Public Petitions Committee going to slavishly follow the line of the Scottish Government which backs the maintenance of these undemocratic and indefensible religious privileges, which according to the Church of Scotland allows the three church representatives to hold the balance of power in 19 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, or is it going to assert the autonomy and judgement that the Scottish people expect of its elected representatives?

For more on this see the post of 17 January below and the petition at

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