Scottish Labour’s deputy leader has said that the SNP were “playing politics” over the controversial Gender Recognition Reform Bill which her party supported.  

Jackie Ballie said she was told that amendments which would have stopped those charged with sexual offences from obtaining a GRC, as well as protecting single sex space exemptions, were blocked by the SNP and Scottish Greens because they didn’t want other parties to ‘get everything they wanted’. 

Speaking to The Herald’s Kevin McKenna, Ms Baille said the Bill – currently the subject of a legal challenge after it was blocked by the UK Government – would be in a “better place” if the Scottish Government had worked with other parties. 

Her comments come as Scottish Labour appears to be distancing itself from the Bill, which it backed when it came before MSPs in December.  

The party has become split over its previous support, after national leader Sir Keir Starmer rejected the principle of self-identification for transgender people contained within the Bill, insisting the provision of a medical diagnosis should remain.  

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When the Bill was passed in December last year, Scottish Labour’s did not try to amend it to remove the provision for self-identification, and now finds itself at odds with Sir keir’s most recent position.  

Speaking to The Herald, Ms Baillie said that the single sex space exemptions and sexual offence clauses should have been adopted.  

The Herald:

Jackie Baillie and Anas Sarwar 

She said: “One Special Advisor came to me a couple of weeks later. I said to her: ‘Why didn’t you pass that amendment? Why didn’t you pass all of those amendments? And she said: “Well, we couldn’t let you get everything you wanted’. 

"So, it wasn’t about good legislation, they were just playing politics.” 

“If we’d passed the amendments, not just those that I’d put down, but that the Tories had put down, and which their own backbenchers had put down, we would be in a better place.” 

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar - I’m not hostile to anyone who supports independence

Scottish Labour Anas Sarwar said that Holyrood’s simple arithmetic had worked against building consensus on the Bill. 

He said: “The harsh reality is that as soon as the SNP and the Greens realised they had the numbers to pass the bill, they were no longer willing to compromise and to make sensible and reasonable amendments to the legislation. 

“We believe there are still flaws in this legislation and those flaws have to be addressed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in terms of standard guidance, but also around new Scottish Government guidance on what happens in prisons; in schools and in other individual places. This is to ensure there is a clear protection of single-sex spaces based on biological sex.”