NICOLA Sturgeon has said she will consider issuing a formal apology to the victims of historic forced adoption in Scotland

The First Minister said she felt "deep sadness" that women were forced to give their children up "due to the prevailing moral and social attitudes of the time". 

It came after Scottish Labour MSP Neil Bibby raised the issue in Holyrood.

He said his constituent Marion McMillan was one of 60,000 Scottish mothers "compelled to give up a baby for adoption simply because they were unmarried". 

Speaking during First Minister's Questions, he added: "What they went through was horrific and many have experienced a lifetime of grief and pain."

He said Ms McMillan is now in her 70s and terminally ill, adding: "Her dying wish is that the victims of Scotland receive the apology they deserve and that it happens soon."

Mr Bibby urged Ms Sturgeon to "take swift action to confront this shameful chapter in Scotland's history and deliver as soon as possible a formal statement to Parliament issuing a government apology for forced adoptions on behalf of our entire nation". 

Ms Sturgeon said she would consider a formal apology. 

She said: "Like everybody else, I feel deep sadness that in the past women were forced to give their children up for adoption due to the prevailing moral and social attitudes of the time.

"Major shifts have occurred in adoption policy and practice and that ensures the focus is now placed on providing secure permanent relationships for some of our most under-supported children.

"We are engaging with the campaigners calling for an apology so that we can better understand their experiences, in order that we can then consider the issue more fully."

Ms Sturgeon said Ms McMillan's experience was "absolutely heartbreaking". 

She added: "It's really important that we understand what an apology would seek to cover, [and] how that can be framed in a way that gives the campaigners the closure, if that is an appropriate word, that they are looking for."