Monday 28 November 2022
Top of page picture is of Tory gender spokesperson Rachael Hamilton.
Suspend GRR Bill to take UN advice, say Scottish Conservatives
By Lucy Ashton
The Scottish Conservatives have today written to the First Minister urging her to suspend the GRR Bill until evidence has been taken from a United Nations expert.
Reem Alsalem, the United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, has recently raised serious concerns about proposed gender reform laws in Scotland.
She said the current bill “presents potential risks to the safety of women”.
In a nine-page letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Ms Alsalem said that it could “open the door for violent males who identify as men to abuse the process”.
She added: “Simplifying and fast-tracking the procedure does not necessarily make it fairer or more efficient.”
The Scottish Parliament has not taken evidence from the UN Special Rapporteur. The committee has not heard evidence from Ms Alsalem, neither has the committee received the letter from the UN for consideration.
Scottish Conservative gender reform spokeswoman Rachael Hamilton has said the bill process should be suspended until evidence can be taken.
She has today written to First Minister to Nicola Sturgeon ask that the process be paused.
Rachael Hamilton MSP said: “It is vitally important that we make good laws with proper and full consideration of all the consequences.
“This United Nations expert on violence against women and girls has raised serious concerns about the current gender reform proposals.
“As it stands, the Scottish Parliament, including the committee in charge of scrutinising this bill, has not had a chance to examine this new piece of evidence from perhaps the world’s leading authority on the subject of women’s safety.
“The SNP-Green Government has put a lot of stock in opinions from the United Nations, so let’s make sure we consider all the evidence available. We should not be selective or cherry-pick expert opinions.
“The First Minister should suspend the passage of this bill for a short time to make sure that all the evidence is fully considered, and I have written to her today requesting that.
“It would be far better to pause this legislation for a few weeks later than rush through a bill that could have potentially damaging consequences for women’s rights and safety.”