A “WORRIED parent” interviewed about her concerns over schools reopening on Reporting Scotland this week worked for the Scottish Tories for years – and even stood as a Conservative candidate in local council elections.

Alison Payne, formerly Alison Miller, was a political adviser to the ex-Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie, and head of research for the party for four years. She ran as a Conservative and Unionist in the Portobello/Craigmillar ward in the 2007 elections.

Payne was introduced as a “worried parent” and staffer for think tank Reform Scotland in a piece about concerns over part-time schooling post-lockdown, but her former political affiliations were not mentioned in the report.

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The reporter introduced Payne by saying: “Alison Payne is a worried parent. Her children may only be in school once a week in August. Others elsewhere may be in more often.

“She also works for an organisation which tries to come up with political ideas.”

During her interview Payne was critical of the strategy for getting children back to school which, depending on the suppression of Covid-19 by August, could see pupils educated in classrooms for one or two days a week to allow for social distancing measures to be observed. Each local authority has been asked by the Scottish Government to come up with a plan for getting kids back in classrooms.

Payne told the reporter: “We cannot have a situation come August where some children in Scotland get one formal day of education per week where others will get two – some may get more than two, that variation’s simply unacceptable and it cannot be the limit of our ambition.”

The BBC has not responded to comment.

Payne’s appearance came ahead of a Mornings with Kaye Adams call-in about schools, where Labour councillor Michael Marra was introduced as a concerned parent and campaigner on the issue of school reopenings. His position as a Labour representative in Dundee was not mentioned during the six minutes he was on air.

Calls for schools to return to full-time teaching as soon as possible have largely been led by former Labour first minister Jack McConnell.

The First Minister has said she will “move heaven and earth” to get kids back and learning five days a week – but said she will not “act recklessly and put the lives of children, teachers and the wider community at risk”.