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by Louise Wilson
01 November 2022
Ash Regan: First Minister ‘well aware’ of gender recognition reform concerns

Regan resigned as community safety minister last Thursday

Ash Regan: First Minister ‘well aware’ of gender recognition reform concerns

Ash Regan has said she was not “100 per cent certain that women and girls would not be in danger” by the passage of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

The Edinburgh MSP, who last week quit as community safety minister to vote against the legislation, said the First Minister had been “well aware” of her concerns before the vote.

Speaking for the first time since her resignation, Regan also said the vote should have been a free vote for SNP members.

Seven SNP MSPs defied the whip to vote against the bill at stage one last week, with two others abstaining.

Regan said: “I think that healthy debate is important, I think that robust challenge is, after all, how we create good law. And I think that actually that’s a strength and not a weakness.

“In many areas of life, women are discriminated against and so rightly they have protections in place.

“I was not convinced that those legal protections could continue to be upheld and my conscience would not allow me to vote for a bill where I could not be 100 per cent certain that women and girls would not be in danger.”

Regan became an MSP in 2016 and entered government as junior justice minister two years later.

In accepting her resignation, Sturgeon said Regan had “at no stage” raised concerns with either herself or social justice secretary Shona Robison.

Asked about the Sturgeon’s reaction, Regan said: “The First Minister was well aware of the concerns that I held on this issue.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson later said: "Ms Regan's concerns were well known, publicly and privately, and the First Minister's letter does not say she was unaware of Ms Regan's views.

"Rather, the letter makes clear that at no point did Ms Regan make use of the well-established practice by which any minister can approach the first minister when they have a difficulty. Nor did she make use of the specific facility to meet with the cabinet secretary for social justice on this issue, as other MSPs have done."

Regan remains an SNP MSP.

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