WOMEN wearing suffragette colours have been told to leave a committee room where MSPs were discussing Scotland's controversial gender reform laws. 

Scottish Parliament security told one woman that her purple, white and green scarf was "political".

Another woman wearing a purely purple silk scarf was also asked to remove it if she wanted to stay and listen to the debate in Committee Room 6.

One of the women, who tweets under the name Obsolesence, told The Herald she had been attending committee discussions on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill for months, but that this was the first time she had been asked to remove her scarf. 

She said she had been sitting in the room for the first ten minutes of the commitee's scrutiny of the more than 150 amendments to the legislation, when the clerk asked her to remove a scarf.

When she refused she was then asked to leave.

The women asked a security guard why now and not before, he said they had  previously been "missed."

The woman - who spoke on the condition of anonymity - said: "I asked how they could be political when several of the MSPs and their advisors are wearing rainbow lanyards and he squirmed and said 'yeah I understand'."


MSPs who questioned the decision were told it was because the colours breached the code of conduct for visitors, which states that anyone coming to Holyrood must not display "banners, flags or political slogans, including on clothing and accessories (such as face coverings)."

Scottish Conservative MSP Russell Findlay said: “It’s shocking that the Scottish Parliament thinks it’s acceptable to police a woman’s clothing in this manner with the order to remove a scarf in the colours of the suffragettes.

“To do so during the discussion of a Bill that would limit the rights of women and girls makes it even worse.

“You can buy items bearing suffragette colours in the Scottish Parliament gift shop but for some baffling reason, you can’t wear these colours while listening to a committee.

“Nicola Sturgeon herself has worn a suffragette scarf in the Scottish Parliament, so this decision makes no sense.

“The Parliament fashion police need to think again. To call suffragette colours 'political' is a complete overreach and troubling attempt to control people’s lives."

In 2018, the First Minister and a number of female MSPs marked the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which saw women given the vote for the first time, by wearing scarves in the suffragette colours in Parliament.


The SNP's Joanna Cherry took to Twitter to criticise the decision. 

She tweeted: "It seems no rule has been broken so this woman should be readmitted or the @scotparl could face a claim of discrimination on the grounds of belief, particularly where MSPs are permitted to wear rainbow colours. This is not my Scotland."

READ MORE: Presiding Officer apologies for 'scarfgate' row

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone later apologised on behalf of the Scottish Parliament. She said there had been an "error."