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Alister Jack urges First Minister to give update on Lord Advocate reforms

The Secretary of State for Scotland has urged the First Minister to give an update on the Scottish Government’s position on reforming the role of the country’s Lord Advocate.

Alister Jack, Scottish Secretary and Conservative MP for Dumfries and Galloway, has asked Humza Yousaf to provide an update on “whether the dual functions of the Law Officers, as head of the independent prosecution service and principle legal advisers to the Scottish Government should be separated” – which featured in the SNP’s 2021 manifesto.

Mr Jack is in favour of separating the two, and in a letter sent to Mr Yousaf, he said: “I understand the Scottish Government has been considering reforms to the role of the Scottish Law Officers for some time, with Malcolm McMillan being commissioned to complete research into the matter in the Spring of last year.

“I would welcome an update on the Scottish Government’s position on amending the roles of Law Officers and any next steps post Malcolm McMillan’s research.

“As you will be aware, most significant changes to the role of the Lord Advocate would require amendment of the Scotland Act 1998.

“Many of those amendments could only be made (or enabled) by means of UK Parliamentary legislation.”

He added: “For that reason, it would be helpful to understand the Scottish Government’s direction of travel on the matter.

“I look forward to your response.”

The issue has returned to prominence in recent weeks with Joanna Cherry’s private members’ bill, due to get its Second Reading in March.

The current Lord Advocate is Dorothy Bain KC.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The Secretary of State for Scotland has asked the Scottish Government for an update on their consultation on the role of the Lord Advocate.

“We look forward to his response.”

The Scottish Government was contacted for comment.