GENDER BILL: Conservatives urge MSPs to ‘stand up and be counted’

Tory Rachael Hamilton urges Labour and SNP MSPs with “private concerns” over the reforms to defy their party whips.

By Bill Heaney

Scottish Conservative Equalities spokesperson, Rachael Hamilton has urged SNP and Labour MSPs to “stand up and be counted” over the SNP’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill – as a recent court ruling confirmed that a Gender Recognition Certificate can change one’s legal gender with regards to the 2010 Equality Act.

Rachael Hamilton said that Labour and the SNP’s central argument that the contentious reforms would have no impact on protections within the Equality Act had been “blown out of the water” by the ruling, and urged MSPs with “private concerns” over the reforms to defy their party whips and vote against the Bill this week.

The calls come after recent polling revealed that a majority of the Scottish public are opposed to the SNP’s proposals to remove vital safeguards from the Gender Recognition process.

According to the Daily Record, Labour’s Women’s Committee found that a plurality of Labour women members were also opposed to the controversial bill, with support for the reforms among Labour MSPs said to be ‘fragile’.

Despite this, both Labour and SNP MSPs were whipped to support the reforms at stage one, while the Scottish Conservatives offered members a free vote.

Scottish Conservative Equalities Spokesperson, Rachael Hamilton MSP, said: “SNP and Labour’s central argument that these reforms would have no impact on protections for women and girls in the Equality Act has been blown out of the water by Tuesday’s court ruling.

“Despite the SNP’s constant attempts to dismiss and discredit their fears, it seems that women’s groups and campaigners have been right all along that the SNP’s plans could open up women’s spaces and protections to those acting in bad faith.

“Now that we have a clearer picture of the implications of these misguided reforms, there is no longer any excuse for MSPs who hold private concerns over the legislation to stay silent.

“With women’s rights and safety at stake, this is no time to play politics or prioritise personal advancement. I urge my fellow MSPs who have concerns over these proposals – even those who are on the fence – to vote with their conscience and oppose this rushed and shoddy legislation, this week.

“Before we sleepwalk toward passing a law that may harm women, girls and vulnerable young people, it’s now time for MSPs to stand up and be counted. Women, girls and the vast majority of the Scottish public who oppose this law will thank them for it.”

 Christine Grahame, Ash Regan, Joanna Cherry and Katie Forbes.

Several SNP MSPs and MPs expressed concerns over Gender Recognition Reforms in 2019 – of these, Ivan McKee and Christine Grahame voted for the legislation at stage one. In 2019, 15 senior SNP politicians urged the SNP Government not to ‘rush’ into ‘changing the definition of male and female.’ These included Kate Forbes, Ash Regan and Ivan McKee, Ruth Maguire, Christine Grahame, Kenneth Gibson, Carol Monaghan, Angus MacNeil, Patricia Gibson and Joanna Cherry  (BBC, 24 April 2019, linkThe Scottish Parliament, 27 October 2022, link). 

Scottish Labour members have warned of ‘grave’ concerns over the party’s stance on the SNP’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill. A report by Scottish Labour’s Women’s Committee found that a plurality of respondents did not support the party’s stance on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. A key criticism of the Bill was also removed from the party’s final version of the policy report. A party insider admitted ‘The Holyrood group is all over the place with competing amendments.’ (Daily record, 21 November 2022, link).

The Daily Record reported that support for the GRR Bill was ‘very fragile’ among Scottish Labour MSPs ahead of the stage three vote, (The Daily Record, 7 November 2022, link).

Michael Marra signed a petition from the Labour Women’s Declaration while Pauline McNeill (both pictured here) co-sponsored a meeting with de-transitioners in the Scottish Parliament. Michael Marra’s name is a founding signature on their petition which promises ‘Women have the right to maintain their sex-based protections, as set out in the Equality Act 2010. These include female-only spaces such as changing rooms, hospital wards, sanitary and sleeping accommodation, refuges, hostels and prisons.’ It is not clear when the petition was launched. Scottish Labour MSP Pauline McNeill co-hosted an event with SNP MSP Ruth Maguire where detransitioners shared their views on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill (The Herald, 22 November 2022, linkiPetitions, Accessed 1 June 2022, link).

One comment

  1. Trans women or should we say men with male genitalia will now by law be able to enter girls toilets, dormitories, ladies toilets, ladies hospital wards, ladies protected spaces all courtesy of self certification facilitated by Nicola Sturgeon.

    And your child, from nursery up, if he ( or she) decides that he wants to be a girl then the nursery or school is to support this without telling the parents.

    It’s absolutely insane. Sturgeon and her wacky clique are turning our country upside down.

    Time she and her poison clique were gone.

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