Ash Regan quits Scottish Government ahead of gender recognition vote
Community safety minister Ash Regan has quit the Scottish Government ahead of a key vote on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act.
The stage one debate on the SNP-Green administration's planned changes will take place today.
In a letter to the First Minister, Regan stated: "I have considered the issue of gender recognition reform very carefully over some time. I have concluded that my conscience will not allow me to vote with the government at the stage one of the bill this afternoon.
"Consequently, I am writing to resign my position in the Scottish Government as minister for community safety.
"I have greatly valued the opportunity over the last few years to work in government with colleagues to build a better Scotland."
During her time in office Regan has worked on tackling commercial sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation.
In a letter responding to Regan, Nicola Sturgeon said: "A key requirement of the Ministerial Code is collective responsibility - a principle essential to effective governance and which applies across all matters of government policy, irrespective of the issue.
"I note that at no stage have you approached me - or indeed the cabinet secretary for social justice - to raise your concerns about the Gender Recognition Reform Bill or the vote this evening.
"However, in circumstances in which a minister is unable to support the government, it is the case that the only options available are resignation ahead of the vote or dismissal thereafter.
"I therefore accept your resignation. Thank you for your contribution to the Scottish Government."