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by Staff reporter
29 April 2023
Douglas Ross criticises language used by Nicola Sturgeon to describe opponents of gender reform

Douglas Ross speaking at Scottish Conservative Conference in Glasgow

Douglas Ross criticises language used by Nicola Sturgeon to describe opponents of gender reform

Douglas Ross has said that comments made by former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about opponents of the Scottish Government’s gender reforms have “no place in society”.

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, who was speaking to Holyrood editor Mandy Rhodes, during an in-conversation event at Scottish Conservatives conference in Glasgow, criticised the language the former first minister used to describe some of the concerns relating to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.  

Ross told Tory party members that the language Sturgeon used to describe people who held views opposing the GRR Bill as “homophobic, sexist, racist, transphobic” and was “looking for a reaction".

He said: “For a first minister who was saying at the time that she was speaking for and representing the whole of Scotland, she was saying to a lot of people that their views were not only wrong, but personally they were bad for holding those views – they were homophobic, they were sexist, they were racist, they were transphobic.

“I thought that language has no place in society when we’re trying to have an open and constructive debate – and it certainly shouldn’t come out of the mouth of the first minister.”  

Ross said that gender reforms should be dealt with on a UK-wide level.

He told party members that there were issues with a Scotland-led approach, particularly around obtaining a gender recognition certificate.  

When asked about the UK Government’s Section 35 order and whether it was chipping away at devolution, Ross was clear that it “is part of devolution” and it has never been used before because “we have never had legislation passed in the way the Gender Recognition Reform Bill was”.

The Tory leader was asked about the case of Isla Bryson, the convicted rapist who was sent to a women’s prison before being moved back to the male prison estate.

Asked if Isla Bryson is a man or a woman, he said: “A man. He’s a man who raped a woman – that’s as clear as day and I don’t know why other politicians can’t give that straightforward answer.”

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