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Sturgeon and the SNP's gender recognition mess | Rachael Hamilton MSP

Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP have got themselves into a real mess over rapists in women’s prisons and the Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) Bill.

Sturgeon’s insistence that we must believe anyone who says they are a women - even if they are also a convicted rapist - has been exposed to public scrutiny and ridicule.

The case of Isla Bryson, a double rapist who claims to be a woman, has thrown up in lights the deficiencies in the SNP’s rigid gender dogma.

While almost everyone in Scotland agrees that genuine trans people deserve our respect and support, almost nobody believes that rapists and sex offenders should be able to change gender.

The problem, as the Scottish Conservatives have argued from the get-go, is not trans people but the violent men who would exploit loopholes in the system to attack and traumatise women.

That is exactly what Isla Bryson seems to have done. This rapist only decided to change gender after police turned up to arrest him for appalling crimes.

If Bryson is allowed to identify as a woman without restraint, the consequences for women’s safety don’t bear thinking about.

Had the SNP not u-turned this week, vulnerable women in prison would have been left in fear and terror at the hands of a violent man.

That is completely wrong and it’s shameful that Nicola Sturgeon only u-turned when it became apparent that the public was outraged. Her real concern was for the SNP’s image, not for women’s safety.

I am proud to have stood up to the SNP’s flawed GRR Bill for the Scottish Conservatives and it’s clear that the UK Government made the right move to request that the SNP go back to the drawing board over this legislation.

If the GRR Bill was enacted, it would risk the safety of women right across our United Kingdom. By intervening, the UK Government has taken a reasonable and proportionate decision in the interests of preserving UK-wide equalities legislation.

The onus is now on the SNP to go back and fix their shoddy legislation so that it poses no risk to women’s safety and offers no helping hand to dangerous criminals like the double rapist Isla Bryson.

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