A view of Stirling Castle on a sunny day, sat on its wooded hillside with a green expanse of grass in the foreground. The sky is blue and wisped with cloud.

Stirling Council will remove education votes from religious reps after next election

July 17, 2023

We are delighted that Stirling Council has voted to remove voting rights from religious representatives on its education committee. The change will take effect after the next local council elections in 2027. Conservative and Unionist councillor Bryan Flannagan proposed the motion on Thursday 29 June. He was seconded by fellow party-member Martin Earl.

The vote in Stirling shows that support is gathering across the political spectrum for removing votes from religious representatives on education committees. Stirling becomes the seventh council to take this step, and the fourth in a matter of weeks. Orkney, Highlands, and Fife made similar decisions across May and June. Unlike in Stirling, the outcome of those votes took immediate effect.

Scottish law requires local councils to appoint three religious representatives to their education committees. Normally, these consist of representatives of the Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church, and a third body or group. In 2019, the Scottish Government clarified that there was no legal need for these faith advocates to have voting rights.

Discussing the recent removal of religious voting rights by several councils in The National, our CEO Fraser Sutherland predicted that they would be removed across the entire country within five years. He added: “this is something we’ve been campaigning on since about 2014 but we never really got anywhere for a while. What’s happened now is a domino effect – Perth did it a few years ago and then you’ve got Orkney, Highland and Fife all happening this year. Stirling are going to remove it and Edinburgh are looking at it.”

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