THE commissioner for children and young people in Scotland has been grabbing the headlines before he steps down after six years in the role.

Bruce Adamson told BBC Scotland's The Sunday Show at the weekend that former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon “absolutely” failed to improve the lives of children in Scotland, pointing to a range of what he saw as shortcomings in her government's record to back up his claims.

He cited Ms Sturgeon's failure to reduce child poverty rates and to close the educational attainment gap between pupils from poorer and wealthier homes. He was also highly critical of “a year-and-a-half of prevarication delay” by SNP ministers in bringing forward updated legislation to embed the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law.

A bill was passed unanimously by MSPs but it was deemed by the UK Supreme Court to have overstepped the bounds of Holyrood and was halted from becoming law. The Scottish Government promised to amend the legislation but almost two years on and it has not done so.

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But Mr Adamson's criticism did not stop with Ms Sturgeon and her government.

He also turned his wrath on her successor, attacking Humza Yousaf's record since becoming First Minister at the end of March.

The commissioner made clear he was strongly opposed to Mr Yousaf's plan to scrap free school meals for all school children.

In an interview the First Minister said, perhaps rather oddly, that people shouldn't be paying for his teenage daughter to have a free lunch appearing to suggest it was a justification for abandoning the policy for everyone.

He later seemed to shift his position for a second time insisting his government remained “committed” to the universal free school meal proposals.

On Sunday Mr Adamson did not appear overly optimistic about Mr Yousaf's potential to improve children's lives saying he was “hugely concerned” that “action isn’t following the words”.

He said: “I think the new First Minister may have made some big promises before becoming First Minister, but we’ve not seen anything on delivering those.

“I’m really disappointed that he didn’t mention children’s rights in his big vision for Scotland statement to Parliament – it’s only mentioned very briefly in the written document.”

Mr Yousaf this morning rushed to the defence of his predecessor's and his own government's record.

Speaking to the PA news agency during a visit to the NHS 24 contact centre in Dundee, the FM said: “I have the greatest of respect for the outgoing children’s commissioner, but I fundamentally disagree with Bruce Adamson about what he said about my predecessor or indeed what he is saying on the Scottish Government.”

He said “game-changing” policies like the Scottish Child Payment, free bus travel for under-22s, and free school meals had been a defining legacy of Ms Sturgeon’s administration.

But looking to his own policies, he said: “I am the first to accept that more has to be done to reduce our child poverty rates in Scotland, which are too high.

“And that’s why I’ve made it a defining mission of the Government that I lead.”

But was Mr Yousaf too hasty to defend himself and his predecessor?

Mr Yousaf has spent several weeks distancing himself from Ms Sturgeon whose legacy in the minds of many voters will be Operation Branchform, the long running police probe into SNP finances which last month saw the arrest of her husband former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell and the then SNP treasurer Colin Beattie and the seizure of a a £110,000 motorhome from outside the home of Mr Murrell’s mother in Dunfermline.

Both men were released without charge pending further inquiries. Ms Sturgeon has not been questioned in connection with the probe and has pledged to fully co-operate with police.

By coming so quickly to her defence, Mr Yousaf seems to be...

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