Sturgeon's resignation means she dodges legal battle over gender laws
Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation means she dodges legal battle over her gender ID laws – as she is accused of ‘shooting herself in the foot over and over again‘ on the issue
- First Minister had vowed to defend the legislation after Westminster blocked it
- Sturgeon insisted the row over plan was not ‘final straw’ leading to resignation
- Read: Critics hope gender identity reforms ‘go with her’ after Sturgeon quits
Nicola Sturgeon has ducked a legal battle over her controversial plans for gender self-identification by standing down.
The First Minister had vowed to defend the legislation after Westminster enacted never-before-used powers to block her bid to make it easier to change gender in Scotland.
Holyrood has until mid-April to challenge London’s decision but the race to replace Ms Strugeon is likely to run until at least that deadline – plunging hopes of resurrecting the policy into serious doubt.
Standing down now means she will avoid running a legal challenge she was likely to lose, or not launching an objection at all, both of which would have severely weakened her position.
Ms Sturgeon yesterday insisted that the row over the plan, passed by the Scottish parliament in December, was not the ‘final straw’ that led to her resignation – despite it deepening divisions within her party.
Nicola Sturgeon has ducked a legal battle over her controversial plans for gender self-identification by standing down today
Standing down now means she will avoid running a legal challenge she was likely to lose, or not launching an objection at all, both of which would have severely weakened her position
READ MORE HERE: Nicola Sturgeon faces the fury of nationalists over her botched push for Scottish independence while critics hope her gender identity reforms ‘go with her’ after she quits as First Minister (and SNP rivals tell her husband to go too)
She acknowledged the ‘choppy waters’ but said she was not standing down in response to the ‘latest period of pressure’.
Asked whether the gender identification row was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’, she replied: ‘No, that issue wasn’t the final straw.
‘I’m long enough in the tooth, I’ve been in politics a long, long time. I’m not going to stand here and insult your intelligence and say that I live in a world that is divorced from the reality of what is going on around me.
‘But it is not the case that this decision is because of short-term issues. I’ve faced more short-term issues from time to time in my years in politics than I care to remember. And if it was just that, I wouldn’t be standing here today.’
The Government last month used its powers to block Ms Sturgeon’s plans which would have allowed trans people to change gender without a medical diagnosis and at a younger age of 16, compared to the current 18.
Ministers were ‘concerned’ that the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill would have ‘an adverse impact’ on national equality laws, including women’s right to use single sex spaces such as changing rooms and toilets.
READ MORE HERE: ‘A lesson for any politician who bets their career on legislating men as women’: Feminists celebrate as Nicola Sturgeon quits as Scottish First Minister in wake of furious rows over her gender self-ID plans and trans prisoners
Ms Sturgeon branded the intervention an ‘outrage’, and vowed to ‘defend the legislation and stand up for Scotland’s Parliament’, adding: ‘If this Westminster veto succeeds, it will be first of many.’
But she was then heavily criticised over her handling of the scandal into double rapist Isla Bryson.
Bryson, born male but who began transitioning to a woman after being charged, spent days in a female prison before Ms Sturgeon had her moved to a male prison.
At an excruciating press conference this month, the First Minister referred to Bryson as a ‘her’ but was then unable to say whether she considered the convicted rapist to be a woman or not when repeatedly asked.
Yesterday, the estranged wife of Bryson said she was ‘delighted’ Ms Sturgeon was standing down.
Shonna Graham, 31, who is still technically married to the serial sex attacker once known as Adam Graham, told the Mail that Ms Sturgeon ‘shot herself in the foot over and over again’.
‘I’m all in favour of transgender rights, but this policy went too far and ended up putting a rapist, who still had all his bits, in a women’s prison,’ she said.
Ms Graham, from Motherwell, added: ‘It was only a matter of time – people, even a lot of those who voted SNP – could see this policy was nuts, and Adam only changed sex to get an easier time in prison.
‘But more generally, surely anyone can see that if a convicted rapist still has his sexual organs intact, he should never be sent to a women’s prison. He did the crime as a man, he should do the time as a man in a big boy’s jail.
Isla Bryson (pictured), born male but who began transitioning to a woman after being charged, spent days in a female prison before Ms Sturgeon had her moved to a male prison
Bryson is currently taking hormones and seeking surgery to complete gender reassignment
‘The whole policy has been nothing but a disaster and this case showed exactly why. It all went too far.
‘If you’re genuinely born in the wrong body, you should be able to transition, but an opportunist like him who was playing the system shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.
‘The SNP shot themselves in the foot a long time ago when they came up with this policy which made transition too easy, but Sturgeon’s problem was she just kept on shooting.’
Ms Graham added that she has voted SNP in the past ‘but now I think I’ll change my mind’.
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