By Rory Murphy
Commons Leader Mr Rees-Mogg, who was dubbed as Scrooge by the media at Christmas, heaped praise on Ms Cherry and defended her right to put forward her views on “difficult and sensitive” issues.
Ms Cherry had told the Commons: “Across our society, and particularly in universities and the third sector, women and some men are losing their jobs, having their positions undermined and their personal safety put in jeopardy simply for questioning the ideology that any man can self-identify as a woman, and for speaking up for women’s sex-based rights under the Equality Act.
“Does the Leader of the House agree with me that all democrats should condemn such attacks on free speech, and can we have a debate about free speech and the importance of sex as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act?”
Mr Rees-Mogg said he was “sorry” Ms Cherry was no longer on the SNP frontbench, adding she was “one of the most intelligent and careful scrutinisers of Government” in the Commons.
He also said: “As I believe good government depends on careful scrutiny, her removal from office is a loss to our democratic system.
“Dare I say, perhaps ungraciously, that Moanalot [First Minister Nicola Sturgeon] is responsible for this and it may be for reasons of internal SNP politicking.”
The nickname “moanalot” is one Mr Rees-Mogg has previously used for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
He added: “Free speech is fundamental, and it is disgraceful that (Ms Cherry) received threats for her views and from her removal from office, to the extent that the police had to be involved.
“Every member of this House should feel safe in whatever they say, as long as it is within the law and it is not effectively threatening violence.”
He added: “It is outrageous that (Ms Cherry) should have been placed in this position.
“And can I commit to supporting freedom of speech? Absolutely, I can. This is what this place exists for, that’s what underpins our democracy.
“And much though I disagree with her on so many things, may I commend her courage in standing up for freedom of speech and putting forward her views clearly in a difficult and sensitive area, but one where she has a right to be heard.”
- The SNP administration at West Dunbartonshire Council and the SNP Dumbarton Constituency Association along with MPs Martin Docherty Hughes and Brendan O’Hara have banned and boycotted The Democrat for asking them to turn up the sound at council meetings in order that we could hear what was going on. And for telling a press officer to “bugger off” when she joined senior officials in trying to have out reporter thrown out of a public meeting. Everyone now knows about the dirty tricks which led to Caroline McAllister, a women’s rights activist, being dropped from the list of prospective SNP candidates to compete against the sitting Labour MSP Jackie Baillie at the Scottish Parliament election in May. The Dumbarton SNP constituency members were excluded from the selection process and SNP big beast Michael Russell was parachuted in from Argyll to oversee the selection of LBGT activist Toni Giugliano to take on Baillie. LOcal activists were denied any say in the matter.