The head of the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee has said the group could consider calls to give convicted child sex offenders mandatory prison sentences.
Central Scotland Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell, convener of the committee, said the group would be “interested to hear more” about the Tele’s campaign.
We launched the Our Kids Need Justice campaign earlier this year to put pressure on Scotland’s lawmakers to give paedophiles the tough sentences they deserve.
Ms Mitchell said: “The abuse of children is one of the more heinous crimes and we would be interested to hear more about the Evening Telegraph’s campaign.”
She added that, if a public petition calling for mandatory sentences was submitted, it could potentially be discussed by the justice committee in future. She said: “One of the real successes of the Scottish Parliament has been its petition system.
“If a petition was put before the petitions committee, they would take evidence and it could be passed to the relative committee.”
The justice committee visited Tayside yesterday on a fact-finding trip ahead of two new inquiries that get under way this autumn.
MSPs spoke to Dundee Sheriff Court staff to learn about how they work with vulnerable witnesses such as children, ahead of discussions on a new law that aims to better protect vulnerable witnesses by encouraging the use of pre-recorded evidence.
The committee also visited Forfar police station and Montrose fire station ahead of its inquiry into how Scotland’s unified police and fire services are working five years on.
Ms Mitchell added: “It’s good for the committee to get out and about to meet people from all across Scotland while parliament is still in recess.
“There’s no substitute for going out and speaking to people in their home territory. It has been very productive.”
North East MSPs were vocal about the committee visiting Tayside and it is understood their efforts led to the visit yesterday.
Committee member and North East Conservative MSP Liam Kerr said: “It’s been fantastic that we have been able to come to the north east, especially from a personal point of view.”