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by Louise Wilson
15 November 2022
Scottish Parliament apologises after woman asked to leave meeting for wearing suffragette scarf

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone apologised to the women involved | Credit: Alamy

Scottish Parliament apologises after woman asked to leave meeting for wearing suffragette scarf

The Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament has issued an apology to women asked to remove scarves in suffragette colours when attending a committee meeting on Tuesday morning.

Alison Johnson said the action was an “error” and that suffragette colours “are not and never have been banned at the Scottish Parliament”.

Women wearing suffragette colours attended the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee as it considered amendments to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, and were asked to remove their scarves.

One visitor declined to do so and was removed from the public meeting at a result.

The request was made by parliament officials, who cited the code of conduct which bans the wearing of “political slogans” or the waving of banners or flags.

In a statement to MSPs, Johnson said: “The action taken was an error and I would like to apologise on behalf of the parliament.

“The wearing of a scarf in those colours does not in itself breach the visitor code of conduct.

“The parliament wishes people to engage with the democratic process, including observing elected representatives debate and make the law of the country.”

Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton welcomed the statement, adding: “It’s important you have confirmed that MSPs are treated exactly the same way as members of the public, and the suffragette colours were not in breach of the guidelines set by this parliament.”

 

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