SCOTTISH Conservative leader Douglas Ross has backed JK Rowling in a row over trans rights. 

Rowling, who has been outspoken with her opinion on gender in recent years, outlined her views on the principles behind the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill in an article for the Sunday Times this weekend. It comes ahead of the first Scottish Parliament debate on the bill.

The Gender Recognition Reform Bill aims to make the process of applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) simpler in Scotland. It would reduce the time people seeking to change their gender need to live in their acquired gender before applying from two years to three months.

The bill, which is supported by all Holyrood parties other than the Tories, has faced opposition from groups who claim it could harm the rights of women.

In the article, Rowling said Nicola Sturgeon and other MSPs should be held responsible if the “lax” new legislation led to attacks on women. 

She also accused the First Minister of “riding roughshod” over women’s rights. 

In a post on Twitter, Ross re-tweeted the article and said: “JK Rowling writes powerfully in the Sunday Times today. She is spot on about Nicola Sturgeon. 

“We fully support @jk_rowling on the need to protect women’s rights.”

It is not Ross's first intervention in the trans rights debate. Earlier this year, ahead of the council election, he was heavily criticised after commiting to ensuring council buildings had single-sex facilities - before stating that trans women could not use them.

This was condemned by the Equality Network, who accused the politician of “proposing unlawful policy” under the Equality Act.

Earlier this month, Rowling shared a photo of herself wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words: “Nicola Sturgeon: Destroyer of women’s rights.”

Sturgeon denied the claims made on the T-shirt and described herself as a “passionate feminist”.

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Responding to claims she is a “destroyer of women’s rights”, Sturgeon told the BBC: “I’ve spent my entire life campaigning for women’s rights and I’m a passionate feminist with lots of evidence behind that. 

“I respect people’s views on this – people are entitled to express their views however they wish.”

She said the legislation is about “reforming an existing process” and “doesn’t give any more rights to trans people and it doesn’t take any rights away from women”. 

The current process, the First Minister said, is “stigmatising, traumatic, it’s asking people to effectively prove they are mentally unwell”, adding that anyone caught abusing the process outlined in the new bill would be committing “a criminal offence”.