Scots must have faith in Kate Forbes as deputy First Minister

MPS Kate Forbes
Kate Forbes must be given a chance, says Record View. -Credit:PA

Kate Forbes proved her ministerial competence when she was thrown in at the deep end in February 2020.

Promoted to finance secretary after the sudden resignation of Derek Mackay, she had just hours to prepare for the Scottish Government’s crucial Budget speech.

Her polished performance won plaudits from all parties and she proved a formidable Cabinet member in the years that followed.

Many expected her to have a smooth path to the top until her campaign to become SNP leader in March last year brought sharp focus on her devout faith and its influence on her political life.

Her personal views on gay marriage and abortion facility “prayer vigils” were rightly questioned by opponents.

Many observers, including the Record, asked whether Forbes could become first minister of a socially liberal country given her socially conservative views.

Forbes is now back in government as a key part of John Swinney’s Cabinet.

And the new First Minister faced questions in Holyrood yesterday about Forbes – with Green co-leader Patrick Harvie warning Scotland risked being “dragged back to the 1950s”.

That is unfair since Forbes has given a firm commitment that she will work to advance the rights of every community in Scotland.

This highly competent young woman deserves to serve in the Cabinet.

There is no doubting her capabilities for the economy brief she now holds – even if her views would have made her a bad fit as first minister.

Many MSPs are people of faith. Many are not. As a democracy, we have a right to ask senior politicians how personal beliefs affect how they reach key ­decisions.

But our political system must also provide space for those with religious beliefs to be heard and respected.

Fund home help

HOSPITAL at Home was lauded as the solution to the country’s A&E problems but the biggest council in Scotland is ready to pull the plug.

The service is designed to reduce hospital admissions for elderly patients by providing medical help such as an ­intravenous drip or an oxygen supply at home.

Evidence has shown patients are more likely to avoid under-pressure A&E wards if they use the service.

Yet Glasgow City Council’s integrated joint board are ready to axe the service because of a lack of funding. They know it is a success and scrapping the service will put more pressure on the NHS.

If the Scottish Government is serious about tackling queues in A&E wards, they need to inject more cash, staff and resources into this service, not scrap it.

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