Politics

Sturgeon set to cave under SNP pressure on contested gender bill

Sturgeon may have to 'water down gender law changes’ says pundit

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Nicola Sturgeon had planned to push through a new piece of legislation which would make it easier for people within Scotland to have their self-identified gender recognised without the need to provide a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria. The proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 has fuelled an internal rebellion among the First Minister’s SNP Party as ministers have defied the party whip to oppose the bill. Under threat from a revolt among her own MSPs, the First Minister is reportedly rushing to amend the proposed legislation in a bid to secure Holyrood’s support.

GB News guest Leo Kearse reported: “The First Minister has been forced to seek amendments on her controversial bill that would make it more easier for children to self-identify their gender profile.”

The political commentator continued: “Nicola Sturgeon could be forced to water down her gender law changes to quell rebellion within the ranks of her party, the SNP.

“She is looking at an amendment that would make it more difficult for under 18s to change their gender, change their sex, after a row with JK Rowling and protests outside Holyrood.

“The SNP were going to change the law so young teenage boys and girls in Scotland could just self-identify. The route to changing sex would be much easier – there’s been a lot of backlash to this.”

Mr Kearse claimed the bill had already caused a huge uproar within the SNP as ministers have publicly spoken out against the Scottish government’s proposed legislation change.

He said: “The first reading of the bill sparked the largest rebellion of the SNP era.

“Ash Regan, one of the ministers, resigned, six other MSPs voted against the government and two more abstained – it’s kicked off.”

This level of rebellion against a piece of Scottish government legislation is unusual given that the SNP hold a comfortable majority in the Holyrood Government. 

Mr Kearse added: “Scotland is really a one-party state, there is no viable opposition so they have been able to steamroll through this legislation.”

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The reformed Gender Recognition Act would remove the need for a medical diagnosis in order to receive a gender recognition certificate.

The new legislation would also reduce the time someone needs to have lived as their self-identified gender to three months, far less than the current minimum of two years.

A gender recognition certificate legally recognises a person’s gender, allowing them to change this detail on official government documents such as a driving licence or a birth certificate.

Under the proposed legislation, anyone over the age of 16 who has lived in their “acquired” gender for at least three months would be eligible to apply for the certificate.

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Former community safety minister Ash Regan resigned over the legislation dispute as she claimed the new bill could put the safety of women and girls at risk.

In a statement following her resignation, the MSP said: “I cannot support any legislation that may have negative implications for the safety and dignity of women and girls.”

She was among nine SNP MSPs who defied the party whip when the legislation faced its first vote in Holyrood.

First Minister Sturgeon suggested she had been blindsided by the resignation, claiming she was “at no stage” approached by Ms Regan to discuss her concerns.

This statement comes after Ms Regan was one of 15 senior SNP politicians who signed a letter in 2019 urging the Scottish government not to “rush” into “changing the definition of male and female”.

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