Holyrood has been accused of “double standards” on political statements after guards confiscated a feminist badge worn by a vistor while ignoring other kinds worn by MSPs.

Tory MSP Russell Findlay raised the matter in a point of order after FMQs, saying the seizure was “simply petty, plain stupidity, or perhaps something more sinister". 

It followed a row on Wednesday caused by security staff demanding a woman visitor remove and hand over a small lapel badge sold in support of the For Women Scotland group.

The group promotes the sex-based rights of women and children, and has been a consistent critic of the Scottish Government's gender recognition reforms.

The parliament later said the badge had fallen foul of its Visitor Behaviour Policy, which “prohibits the display of banners, flags or political slogans”.

However the coin-sized badge, which was later returned, did not appear to be a banner or a flag or a political slogan.

Based on the Venus symbol, it contained two white Xs on a blue background to represent the female chromosome.

READ MORE: 'Farcical' - Holyrood security guards swoop on feminist badge

The badge’s owner, who last year received an apology from the Presiding Officer for being ejected from a committee for wearing a scarf in suffragette colours, called it “farcical”.

The woman, who uses the Twitter/X handle Obsolescence and wished to remain anonymous, had been in Holyrood this week to attend another committee.

She told the Herald: “I’m worried about the message it sends to people.

“They’re monitoring people’s clothing and worrying about tiny lapel badges.

“It’s not doing anything to encourage women to engage in the democratic process.” 

Her case led to social media users highlighting the widespread use of badges, ribbons and coloured lanyards to promote other issues at Holyrood, including by MSPs.

At FMQs today, many MSPs wore a red Save the Children badge, which the use of rainbow colours to promote inclusive education is almost ubiquitous. 

At the end of the session, Mr Findlay asked deputy presiding officer Liam McArthur for guidance on the issue.

READ MORE: Woman in suffragette colours asked to leave Holyrood committee room

He said: “A woman entering parliament yesterday morning was stopped by security.

“They confiscated her small pin badge in the shape of a circle with a downward facing cross denoting the female sex. Within the circle were two Xs denoting female chromosomes. 

“The Parliament told the press that this was in line with its visitor behaviour policy, which bans the display of political slogans including on clothing and accessories.

“Last year, security ordered the same woman to leave a committee because she was wearing a purple white and green scarf.

“The Presiding Officer then said that had been an error and issued a public apology to the woman. 

“I can't work out if the badge seizure was simply petty, plain stupidity, or perhaps something more sinister. 

“But many people have since pointed out that MSPs regularly wear or display a wide range of political items including badges, lanyards, and stickers. 

“So if Parliament chooses to define the confiscated badge as political, they surely need to be consistent. 

“There cannot be double standards, one rule for MSPs and another for those who pay our wages. I therefore seek your guidance on this issue.”

Mr McArthur suggested Mr Findlay could take the issue up with the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, the cross-party group of MSPs which oversees the Holyrood estate.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Parliament said: “As the Deputy Presiding Officer confirmed, Mr Findlay can raise the matter with the SPCB.”