Latest update from Church of Scotland:


"The prospect of Kate Forbes taking on the role of First Minister has engendered much debate about her beliefs as a member of the Free Church of Scotland and the impact of those beliefs on any political decisions she may take.


"As fellow Christians, we support Ms Forbes' right to hold her beliefs, as we would for any one else. We deplore comments which suggest that holding views because of religion, faith or belief would impair her suitability as a candidate for First Minister. Freedom of religion and belief is a human right and a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. Scotland is a diverse, pluralist society that includes people of many faiths and beliefs, and it is right that we seek to treat one another with fairness and respect, especially when we hold a different opinion.


"In a democratic society it is important for our political leaders to uphold the decisions of the Scottish Parliament, even when they do not personally agree with them. There is a longstanding tradition of politicians being able to exercise their own conscience on moral issues, where they are given ‘free votes' rather than have to follow a party line.


"We urge those involved in choosing a potential leader to examine what positive qualities they can contribute, such as a commitment to public service, a willingness to work for the benefit of the country as a whole, and those personal qualities of honesty and integrity which we all expect from those in high office.


"We also appeal to people to consider their own words and actions as they engage in the debate about Scotland's next First Minister. The political arena is all too often an environment that can see highly damaging personal attacks made on those in public office. Our politicians are human beings first and foremost who volunteer to serve the public and in doing so accept the scrutiny that comes with that role but all too often this sadly falls into a level of abuse that should never be acceptable."



Rev Fiona Smith, Principal Clerk of the General Assembly, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4YN 0131 240 2240 or Mobile 07824037271

Registered Scottish Charity, No: SC008756