ONE of Nicola Sturgeon's ministers has dramatically quit because she cannot support plans to reform Scotland's gender recognition law

In her resignation letter, Ash Regan said she had "considered the issue of Gender Recognition Reform very carefully over some time" and had "concluded that my conscience will not allow me to vote with the government at the Stage 1 of the Bill this afternoon."

It is not clear if she will vote against or abstain.

The proposals aim to modernise the process for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate – removing the need for a gender dysphoria diagnosis and lowering the age limit from 18 to 16 years old.

Critics of the law have long argued that it could impact on women’s rights and make it easier for sexual predators to abuse others by pretending to be transgender in order to access women’s safe spaces such as refuges and changing rooms.

READ MORE: Call for free vote as 'watershed' gender recognition plans to be debated

In her response, the First Minister said Ms Regan had never raised concerns over the legislation. 

She said: “As you are aware, a key requirement of the Ministerial Code is collective responsibility - a principle essential to effective governance, and which applies across all matters of government policy irrespective of the issue.

“I note that at no stage have you approached me - or indeed the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice - to raise your concerns about the Gender Recognition Reform Bill or the vote this evening.

“However, in circumstances in which a Minister is unable to support the government, it is the case that the only options available are resignation ahead of the vote or dismissal thereafter.

“I therefore accept your resignation.

“Thank you for your contribution to the Scottish Government.”

Ms Regan has been a minister since 2018. 

Along with fellow frontbenchers, Kate Forbes and Ivan McKee, as well as 12 other parliamentarians, Ms Regan signed an open letter in 2019, warning Ms Sturgeon not to “rush” ahead with plans.