The SNP MP Joanna Cherry KC has demanded a UK Government review into “the impact of extreme trans rights activism on women’s rights”.

Ms Cherry urged justice minister Laura Farris to commission the exercise and condemn “violence and intimidation” against women in the name of trans rights.

During Justice questions in the Commons today, Ms Cherry raised a letter sent to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last month by the group Sex Matters.

Its 15,000 signatories urged to take urgent action “to halt an escalating campaign of violence and intimidation against women in the name of ‘trans rights’.”

Ms Cherry, whose gender-critical views have led to her being shunned by many of her SNP colleagues, said the letter detailed the abuse suffered by those with similar views.

She said: “It details how women and, in particular, lesbians are being threatened with the loss of their livelihoods and with physical violence, shouted down and intimidated at public events, and sometimes even assaulted for insisting on their rights to freedom of belief and of expression, and for calling for sex-based protections to be upheld.”

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The Edinburgh South West MP, who believes biological sex is immutable while gender can change, went on: “Will the Minister condemn that violence and intimidation? 

“Will she urge the Prime Minister to do so as well and to commit to addressing it by commissioning a rapid review of the impact of extreme trans rights activism on women’s rights, including the rights of lesbians?

"Will she also open a call for evidence?”

The Herald:

Ms Farris replied: “I certainly condemn the conduct that she has described.

“Even though holding a gender critical belief is protected in law… I am aware of the polarisation and, sometimes, intimidation that surrounds this debate.” 

“I have seen the letter that Sex Matters wrote to the Prime Minister, and the hon. and learned Lady should be in no doubt about how seriously this is viewed. She has asked for a rapid review, and I would like to meet her to discuss that further and any next steps.”

The letter from Sex Matters to Mr Sunak claimed “extreme trans activism constitutes a broad and sustained campaign against women who stand up for women’s rights”.

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It cited placards at marches saying “Decapitate TERFs” (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) among others.

“We call on you, Prime Minister, to lead the fightback,” the letter said.

“We urge you to condemn the violence and intimidation against gender-critical women, to commit to addressing it and to open a call for evidence.”

Among the signatories were leading figures in the gender critical movement, including the researcher Maya Forstater and author Helen Joyce.

Some signatories used pseudonyms to avoid repercussions.