SNP MP says Scottish government's gender recognition plans should be scrapped

The Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.(Photo: Getty/iStock)

An SNP MP has warned that women's safety will be put at risk if the Scottish government goes ahead with planned gender reforms.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Angus MacNeil, MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, said he could not support the Gender Recognition Reform Bill because of the threat to women. 

He warned that the legislation could be exploited by "bad faith actors" who "masquerade" as trans people to enter women-only spaces.

The MP called for the Bill to be "withdrawn and scrapped" over the "loophole".

"This is not about trans people. It is about people who could possibly masquerade as trans people and invade women's safe spaces, who are known as bad-faith actors. I cannot support that," he said. 

"Trans people deserve respect and dignity. But this legislation is not about that. It poses a threat to women, especially those who are vulnerable, in safe spaces and that is clearly wrong.

"I stress this is not about the rights and dignity of trans people, but about those who pretend to be trans to gain access to women's safe spaces. Any legislation that creates that loophole is a concern."

The Bill was passed by MSPs just before Christmas but the UK government is considering a legal challenge to stop the legislation from becoming law.

The legislation would lower the current age limit that Scots can apply for a gender recognition certificate from 18 to 16 and remove the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

The waiting period would also be reduced from two years to three months - or six months in the case of 16 and 17 year olds.

Amendments to keep the age limit at 18 and stop sex offenders being able to change their gender were rejected by MSPs.

Scottish Catholic bishops have called the proposals "unsafe and likely to harm young people". They have also raised concerns about the freedoms of people who oppose transgender ideology.

The Christian Institute has called the legislation "lamentable".

Former Scottish First Minister, Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale, has spoken out against the Bill, saying that it could be used by rapists and sexual predators to gain access to female prisons or changing rooms. 

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has called the Bill "the single biggest assault on rights of Scottish women and girls in my lifetime".