THE DECISION by the Scottish Government to not issue guidance on Creationist teaching may not sit well with new SNP members, one party councillor has claimed.

Sandy Howat, Edinburgh councillor for the Meadows and Morningside, called for a broader discussion to be held with the party's 70,000 new members to determine their views.

Howat has been a party member for almost 30 years and is also in the Edinburgh Secular Society.

Loading article content

He said: "I'm disappointed that the Government have not be a bit more courageous in facing down what is unfair religious privilege in our schools.

"It's difficult to know what all our members' views are as we have so many new ones, but the simple way of looking at it is that our membership reflects the wider Scottish population and I think the majority would be unhappy that we have not been courageous enough in trying to put forward a more rounded education system that protects our children, but also embodies ­learning and not mythical fantasy.

"The members I met during the Yes campaign who have subsequently joined the party believe in a type of Scotland that would face down barriers in having a proper and open education system.

"We want to build a new Scotland on principles which include ­equality, fairness and honesty and I don't think creationism fits into any of that."

Howat has vowed to talk to new members in his constituency about their views on the matter, and said the majority of younger people he had spoken to were not favourable towards religious ­leaders having power in the ­education sector.

"It would be easy to assume the vast majority of members would be unhappy and I will certainly be asking my members their views directly.

"I think we do need to have more discussion with our new members about all policy areas and try to be a bit more honest with ourselves in facing down old privileges, and put the people of Scotland first."

Earlier this year, Howat signed a petition to ban religious leaders from school boards, which was later lodged in Parliament.

The campaign was supported by Green party leader Patrick Harvie and also called for a change in legislation so that religious observance, such as attending a church service or religious assembly, would become an opt-in matter.