NICOLA Sturgeon’s judgement has been called into question after she appointed a new education minister despite knowing she had previously ridiculed transgender students.

The First Minister was forced into a humiliating U-turn amid widespread outcry over blogs written by SNP MSP Gillian Martin before she entered politics.

In one post, Ms Martin mocked efforts to promote transgender rights, and made reference to “hairy knuckled lipstick-wearing transitional transgender Laydees”.

She was appointed minister for colleges, universities and science in Ms Sturgeon’s wide-ranging reshuffle on Wednesday – before being ditched 24 hours later after further comments relating to race emerged.

Critics branded it “the most notorious reshuffle in the history of this parliament”.

Addressing MSPs in Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon said: “It is with regret that I will not be asking parliament to approve the appointment of Gillian Martin as a minister.

“Over the course of this morning information about content on a blog written by her more than ten years ago has been brought to my attention. I was not previously aware of all of the comments that I am now aware of.”

In a blog post in 2007, Ms Martin – who previously worked as a college lecturer – mocked political correctness in higher education, writing: “Will they install a third category of loo with a special transgender sign? Are they then going to pinpoint these transgender people and make sure that they get represented fairly on all undisclosed-because-I-don’t-want-to-get-fired-establishment literature in the same way our five endlessly tolerant Asian students do or that guy with the guide dog does?

“Are we going to see lovely photos in the foyer of hairy knuckled lipstick-wearing transitional transgender Laydees being embraced by the principal of undisclosed college or visiting politicians for the press?”

She also referred to an EU “tranny trove” of cash, and claimed college public relations staff “froth at the mouth with excitement if anyone in a wheelchair does anything that can be remotely described as an achievement”.

The MSP’s posts previously emerged when she was elected to Holyrood in 2016. But they were brought up again in light of her new role covering higher education, which included responsibility for widening access to minority groups.

Ms Martin was due to be confirmed as a junior minister in Holyrood, but her name was dramatically taken off the list with just hours to go. It later emerged another blog post had come to light in which she ranked restaurant tippers by race.

In the 2007 post, she wrote that black colleagues she had worked with at a New Orleans restaurant had said American Jews “tip ok but only if you’ve absolutely busted your hump and everything was faultless in the extreme”.

“American blacks”, the waiters had claimed, “don’t tip at all or tip next to nothing – to be avoided.”

Raising the “shocking” comments in Holyrood, Scottish Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “This is a judgement about the First Minister herself. She’s done this job long enough. Thin excuses don’t really cut it.

“A reshuffle a year in the making ought not now to stand as the most notorious reshuffle in the history of this parliament.”

Scottish Labour’s Rhoda Grant insisted the “words and blog have offended every minority group and indeed all of us.”

She added: “And if [Ms Sturgeon] believes that Gillian Martin is not fit to be a minister, is she really fit to be an MSP?”

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs she took the criticism “absolutely on the chin”, and said she was “genuinely not aware of” some of Ms Martin’s blog posts.

But she added: “Gillian Martin has been a member of this parliament for two years now, and people across the chamber have got to know her well.

“I would simply ask people to ask themselves, in their heart of hearts, do they truly believe that the comments that have been read out – however ill-advised they were, and I do not take issue with that – reflect the person or the views of the person they have come to know?”

She also raised the record of other parties, and warned against standing in “glass houses throwing stones”.

In a statement, Ms Martin, 49, said she fully accepted and understood why she would not now be promoted.

She said: “In a blog I wrote 11 years ago across a range of issues I used language that was inappropriate and offensive. I reported comments from other people which have caused offence, and made statements in a way which does not represent my views then or now.

“I deleted this blog some time ago precisely because I accepted that it contained unacceptable content – but I recognise that these posts should never have been published in the first place.

“That is entirely my responsibility and I am deeply sorry. When parts of this blog were last raised publicly two years ago I apologised – and I unreservedly apologise today.

“Since my election as MSP for Aberdeenshire East in 2016, I have always campaigned hard for equalities and I will continue to do so.”

Ms Martin’s replacement will be announced in due course.