SNP Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth has claimed there has “not been prevarication” over bringing back updated plans to embed children’s rights into Scots law despite the legislation being struck down by the Supreme Court almost 600 days ago.

Ms Gilruth was responding at Holyrood following outgoing Children’s Commissioner Bruce Adamson claiming that Nicola Sturgeon’s government has “absolutely” let down young people.

Mr Adamson also hit out at the delays in bringing back a bill to embed the UN Rights of the Child into Scots law.

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The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Bill was unanimously approved by MSPs but the Supreme Court ruled in October 2021 that the legislation was outwith Holyrood’s devolved powers.

SNP ministers have committed to bringing back updated plans, but they are yet to emerge.

The only date given for the legislation being reconsidered by the Scottish Parliament is by 2026.

Labour education spokesperson, Pam Duncan-Glancy, told Ms Gilruth that Mr Adamson’s comments have “clearly struck a nerve”.

She added: “Avoiding responsibility in any shortcomings is why the Government has delayed the CRC and refused immediate commencement when the bill does come back, as that is exactly its purpose – to ensure the government is truly accountable for upholding children and young people’s rights.”

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But Ms Gilruth claimed there have been no delays to bringing back the legislation.

She said: “There has not been prevarication.

“Fixing the CRC has been complicated.”

The cabinet secretary added: “We need to address the Supreme Court judgement.

“It’s now hugely important we go back to fix the legislation to ensure we improve the rights of children and young people, and we do so as quickly as possible.

“Yes there is a responsibility of this government and our officials continue to engage, but there’s also a responsibility on the part of the UK Government.”

Earlier, Ms Gilruth addressed the criticism of the outgoing Children’s Commissioner, telling MSPs she did “not recognise the picture he paints”.

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She pointed to the “game-changing” Scottish Child Payment, commitments to free school meals, early learning and childcare and free bus travel for under-22s.

She added: “We are doing all this as a devolved government within a fixed budget and despite that, we will continue to make real progress in delivering for our children.”

Ms Duncan-Glancy said Mr Adamson’s criticism was “fundamentally correct”.

She said: “They have failed on the attainment gap, on free bikes, on poverty, counselling in schools, free school meals and the list goes on."

The SNP minister told MSPs she has “great respect” for Mr Adamson, adding that she would “welcome an opportunity to discuss those matters with the outgoing Children’s Commissioner”.

She added: “The latest poverty statistics, published in March, show that Scotland’s poverty rates remain six per cent lower than in other parts of the UK.”