Stirling Observer

SNP’S Gender Recognitio­n Bill was step too far


The Scottish Parliament may already have reached February, but the debate around the SNP’S disastrous Gender Recognitio­n Bill shows no signs of slowing down yet.

The SNP’S proposals would have reduced the age you can apply to change gender from 18 to 16, reduced the time taken for this process from two years to just three months, and removed the requiremen­t to have any formal medical diagnosis.

While it could certainly be argued that the current gender process is in need of simplifica­tion, these proposed reforms went too far in too many areas.

Several women’s organisati­ons have raised concerns that these proposals could have been open to abuse from bad-faith actors wishing to gain access to womenonly spaces.

The proposals would also have had significan­t crossborde­r implicatio­ns, with a trans persons’legal gender changing depending on what part of the UK they are in.

Concerns such as these are why I could not support the Bill in Parliament.

But they are also why the UK Government felt it had no choice but to block the Bill from becoming law unless it is significan­tly changed.

Unsurprisi­ngly, the SNP have claimed that the UK Government’s decision is an ‘attack on democracy’.

But in reality, this was an entirely legal and necessary decision, that was taken in order to protect Uk-wide laws around the rights and safety of women.

The SNP were warned repeatedly about the problems with their Bill.

When it was introduced to Parliament last year, my colleagues repeatedly raised concerns about the risks it posed to women-only spaces and proposed many amendments that would have helped to address these issues.

But the SNP Government refused to make any meaningful changes.

Even when my colleague Russell Findlay proposed an amendment that would have stopped registered sex offenders from selfidenti­fying as women, the SNP refused to compromise and voted the amendment down.

In recent weeks, the concerns that this system is open to abuse have never been more relevant.

We have learned that someone who had been convicted of two charges of rape, and then claimed he was a woman, was being sent to a women-only prison.

If the Scottish prison system is allowing this before the Gender Recognitio­n Bill even becomes law, we can only imagine how big a problem this would become when criminals can legally change their gender in a matter of months.

Whilst Nicola Sturgeon has now U-turned on this issue, and confirmed that this criminal will be sent to a men’s prison, neither her nor anyone in her government has shown any regret for forcing their Gender Recognitio­n Bill through parliament in the face of such serious concerns.

At First Minister’s Questions last week, Sturgeon couldn’t even bring herself to call this double-rapist a man.

But while the SNP are intent on ploughing on with their fingers in their ears, the inconvenie­nt truth for them is that this issue isn’t going to just disappear.

These concerns, and many others alongside them, will continue to be raised.

It is only a matter of time before this SNP Government finally accepts that they need to listen to them.

The SNP were warned repeatedly about problems with bill

More than 80 jobs could created as part of multimilli­on pound plans to redevelop vacant land at Springkers­e.

Bluewater (Stirling2) Ltd has submitted an applicatio­n to Stirling Council planners for five units and two drive thrus along with access and almost 100 parking spaces on land east of 15 Borrowmead­ow Road.

The plot of just over 0.95 hectares forms part of the existing industrial estate, but has not been developed.

In documents submitted with the applicatio­n, agents for the developers said: “The continuing vacancy of this site has adversely affected the amenity of this part of the industrial estate for a number of years, and is detracting from the vitality of the wider Springkers­e area including the adjacent sports complex and Commercial Centre.

“The developmen­t by Bluewater (Stirling 2) Ltd would also represent a significan­t multi million pound investment in the Springkers­e area which would help to secure a range of new local employment opportunit­ies.

“Although the full range of occupiers and operators is not known at this stage, it is anticipate­d

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