Moderator meets First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Parliament

Hannah Mary Goodlad, Nicola Sturgeon and the Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison. Image - Scottish Government.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the Right Rev Angus Morrison has met with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.

He was accompanied to the meeting by the Moderator of the National Youth Assembly Hannah Mary Goodlad to discuss a range of issues including new devolved powers for Holyrood and the European Union referendum.

The Moderator told the First Minister the General Assembly is in favour of Britain remaining part of the EU on the basis it promotes peace, security and reconciliation amongst nations.

The policy was approved in 1996 and reaffirmed by General Assembly commissioners in 2002, 2005 and 2014.

Speaking after the private meeting, Dr Morrison said he was very pleased that the Scottish and UK Government's had agreed a fiscal framework which is the financial basis for new powers to be devolved to Holyrood as part of the Scotland Bill.

'We criticise our politicians when they fail to agree so it is entirely correct that when they work together for the common good, we congratulate them," he added.

"Agreement on the fiscal framework has required hard work and compromise on both sides.

"The result is, hopefully, a just settlement for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

"Now, attention must turn to what Scotland does with the powers which our Parliament already has and will have.

"The Church of Scotland has been clear over many years that together we need to be constantly striving for a fairer, more equal and socially just Scotland in a UK and Europe that also reflects these values."

Other issues the Moderator discussed with Ms Sturgeon included the refugee crisis, freedom of religion, mental health and the oil and gas crisis in the north-east.

The meeting also touched on the findings of a Church consultation on ways to make Scotland a fairer country, which drew more than 10,000 responses.

Dr Morrison also met with Scottish Labour Party leader Kezia Dugdale today and attended a parliamentary reception, sponsored by SNP MSP Jim Eadie, to promote the work of the Kirk's social care arm, CrossReach.

The organisation is one of the biggest of its kind in Scotland and provides around 70 services to support the most vulnerable in society. CrossReach has annual expenditure of around £51million and employs around 2,000 people.

The Moderator, who met with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie on Tuesday, has described CrossReach as one of the jewels in the Church of Scotland's crown.

This week marks the Moderator's annual visit to the Scottish Parliament.