THE Scottish Greens say it as a “dark day for democracy” after the Supreme Court ruled two bills passed by the Scottish Parliament are outside Holyrood ’s competence.

Judges unanimously agreed that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill, and the European Charter of Local Self-Government Bill (ECLSG), went beyond the limits of the Scottish Parliament’s powers.

The bills had cross-party support prior to May’s Holyrood election and passed unanimously.

It comes as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned of the consequences of the ruling. 

Deputy first minister John Swinney said the decision required “careful consideration”, but added it made clear the devolution settlement doesn’t give Scotland “the power it needs”.

READ MORE: Conservative Party conference: Boris Johnson mocks SNP's Ian Blackford

He will update Holyrood on the issue through a ministerial statement on Wednesday afternoon.

The Tories accused the SNP of using children’s rights to “play nationalist games”, while the LibDems said the Government was more interested in “constitutional spats” than improving the lives of Scots.

Scottish Labour said the ruling was “avoidable” and that children had been let down.

All three parties voted for and supported the bills being introduced.

Reacting to the ruling, Deputy FM Swinney said: “While we fully respect the court’s judgment, it lays bare the weakness of, and the limits in, the devolution settlement.

“The ruling means it is outwith the power of the Scottish Parliament to pass legislation it considers necessary to fully ensure the rights of Scotland’s children are protected.”

The National:

Swinney said the UNCRC was created to “deliver a revolution in children’s rights”, was backed unanimously by Holyrood and “celebrated as a landmark” by campaigners.

He added that the ECLSG bill “strengthens local government” by incorporating the charter into Scots law.

He added: “Today’s judgment will require careful consideration. I will update Parliament further later today, but one thing is already crystal clear: the devolution settlement does not give Scotland the powers it needs.”

Scottish Greens human rights spokesperson Maggie Chapman said that the UK Government is “rewriting democracy” in its favour.

She commented: “This is a dark day for democracy in the UK.

“The fact the UK Government has used the courts to overturn a decision by the Scottish Parliament to protect the rights of children reveals their disregard for human rights and their true intentions when it comes to respecting the will of the devolved nations.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon bets Douglas Ross £50 she won't quit before next election

Chapman added that it was “chilling” the UK Government sees international law and human rights as a “hinderance” to their policy decisions.

She added: “On top of this, they want to impose those values on Scotland.

“Boris Johnson’s government is rewriting democracy to ensure the Conservatives have an in-built majority across the UK and can ignore the devolved parliaments.

“It is becoming clearer than ever that Scotland needs a way out, to chart a different path as a modern progressive nation that respects human rights and looks after our children.”

The opposition parties used the ruling as a chance to hit out at the SNP.

Tory MSP Donald Cameron (below), the party's shadow constitution secretary, said: “This unanimous Supreme Court judgement confirms that the SNP shamefully used children’s rights to play nationalist games.

The National:

“There was never any dispute over the substance of the policy, only the legality of parts of the Bill. The Scottish Conservatives supported this legislation from the outset whilst pointing out the legal problems.”

He claimed the SNP tried to “politicise” the issue from the beginning, “cynically engineering” the timing of the Bill to “facilitate a pre-election stunt” and provoke a grievance with the UK.

Meanwhile, Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Scotland’s governments are more interested in constitutional spats than making the lives of people in Scotland better. “Their blinkered agendas mean important laws are now limbo.”

And, Scottish Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy claimed that the ruling was “avoidable” and the SNP didn’t fix issues with the legislation despite being warned about it.

She commented: “We could’ve been talking about how best to realise children’s human rights today instead, we have a landmark piece of legislation, held back by political games & children across Scotland are let down, again.”

READ MORE: Pandora Papers: One of Scotland's biggest landowners named in data leak

Josh Kennedy, chair and member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said that young people in Scotland had hoped their rights would be protected in October following the UNCRC bill being introduced.

He said that the “onus” is now on the Scottish Government to bring forward revised bills as soon as possible.

He continued: “As the technical issues raised in the Court are resolved, it’s vital that the work to prepare for incorporation continues to be done with children and young people’s views at its heart.”

Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, said that although the ruling was a setback, the Scottish Parliament must find a solution to incorporate children’s rights.

He added: “Children and young people and other human rights defenders have been campaigning for decades to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots law.

“It is the most important thing we can do to ensure children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.”