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by Louise Wilson
19 October 2023
Shona Robison must resign over gender reform comments, Alba MP says

Shona Robison steered the Gender Recognition Reform Bill through parliament as social justice secretary

Shona Robison must resign over gender reform comments, Alba MP says

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison has been urged to resign over comments she made last year in relation to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

Alba MP Neale Hanvey, who was formerly an SNP MP before defecting, has written to First Minister Humza Yousaf saying Robison must “take responsibility, apologise and resign” for saying abusive men do not have to pretend to be anything else to carry out abusive behaviour.

He also urged Yousaf to sack Robison if she refuses to step down.

His letter follows the sentencing of Andrew Miller for the abduction and sexual assault of a young girl. Miller, also known as Amy George, was dressed as a woman when he abducted the girl. He was jailed for 20 years earlier this week.

During the passage of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill last year, Robison responded to concerns that the legislation put women at risk.

She said: “There is no evidence that predatory and abusive men have ever had to pretend to be anything else to carry out abusive and predatory behaviour.”

The legislation, which has since been blocked by the UK Government, would have made it easier for people to transition to the opposite gender by introducing a system of self-identification and removing medical gatekeeping.

Hanvey, who opposes the legislation, said recent events proved Robison’s words were “wrong, misguided and dangerously complacent”.

In the letter to Yousaf, he said: “It is not an unreasonable expectation that when a government minister gets an issue of such significance so appallingly wrong then they take responsibility, apologise, and resign.

“If Ms Robison chooses not to do so, it is vital for ongoing confidence in your administration that she is removed from government forthwith.”

Hanvey also urged the Scottish Government to end its legal challenge to the UK Government’s section 35 order which prevented the bill from becoming law.

That case was heard last month in the Court of Session.

The Alba MP said that if the UK Government won that case, it would show the Scottish Government was “incapable of producing competent legislation”, but if Yousaf’s government won, it would result in the enactment of legislation that would undermine safeguarding.

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