Conservatives join SNP rebels who voted against the gender bill

Tory MSP Russell Findlay and SNP rebel Michelle Thomson.

By Bill Heaney

Opposition is growing to the gender change bill currently being pushed through the Scottish Parliament by Nicola Sturgeon and SNP/Green alliance.

Scottish Conservative MSPs are working with SNP MSPs who rebelled against the party whip to vote against the Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) Bill. 

Russell Findlay MSP and the SNP’s Michelle Thomson have submitted a joint amendment to the GRR Bill, which would prevent rapists and other sex criminals from seeking to change gender while awaiting trial. 

The Scottish Conservative community justice spokesman has also submitted similar amendments to prevent those awaiting trial for domestic abuse and fraud from seeking a Gender Recognition Certificate. 

Speaking to The Times today (Tuesday), Michelle Thomson said: “The proposed legislation allows a sexual predator or rapist who has been charged but not yet convicted of a sexual offence to be able to apply for a gender recognition certificate.” 

She added: “If certification is granted, this could require their victim during any subsequent court case, to refer to their attacker as ‘she’. Were it me, and as someone who has spoken openly of being raped at aged 14, I would consider this deeply offensive and re-traumatising.” 

Scottish Conservative community safety spokesman, Russell Findlay MSP, said:“I welcome the opportunity to work constructively with Michelle Thomson who shares my concerns about the threat of sex criminals exploiting the bill as it’s currently drafted.

“Our joint amendment will seek to ban alleged rapists and other sex criminals who are awaiting trial from seeking a GRC until their case has concluded. 

“Our proposal would not limit trans rights in any way, but would solely act as an important block on those who would seek to exploit this legislation.

“We cannot end up in the perverse situation where a male-bodied rapist is referred to as ‘she’ or ‘her’ in a court.

“I was not assured by the answers given when I previously asked a senior police officer and the justice secretary about this.

“The reality would be that an alleged rapist with a GRC would be legally entitled to be addressed as ‘she’.

“Fixing this should not be contentious – it would be no different to bail conditions which are set by courts every day of the week. It’s not uncharted territory.”

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