A Scottish Tory MSP who was sacked from the party's frontbench over his "vocal support" for the Scottish Government's gender reform bill has hinted that he does not regret supporting the legislation.

Jamie Greene was today dropped as the Conservative's justice spokesman in Holyrood and replaced by his deputy Russell Findlay, a former journalist who was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2021. The reshuffle by Douglas Ross also saw Stephen Kerr and Sue Webber leave the top team.

Mr Greene spoke of his "disappointment" at losing his frontbench role and hinted at his continuing support for the Scottish government's legislation, designed to make it easier for transgender people to obtain a gender recognition certificate.

Mr Greene voted for the gender recognition reform bill (GRRB), which was passed in Holyrood in December, which is now at the centre of a legal dispute between ministers in Edinburgh and London.

The Scottish Conservatives were opposed to the reforms but the party allowed its MSPs a free vote on the matter.

In his statement this afternoon, Mr Greene said: "I take great personal pride in standing up for the things I believe to be right, uncompromisingly so. Which is why I got into politics in the first place.

"Free thinking and standing up for your principles are qualities that I take pride in and pride is something to celebrate, not hide away." He went on to wish the new front bench well.

In his short statement the MSP for the West of Scotland said it had been "an honour to serve as shadow justice secretary and lead on a number of bills going through the Scottish Parliament".

He added: "I am disappointed to lose that role, in particular fighting for the rights of victims in our justice system. I am always amazed at the incredible resilience of people who have suffered unimaginable trauma and I am proud to have given them a voice. 

"I have held three front bench positions, transport, education and latterly justice since becoming an MSP in 2016. I believe it is vital to the good health of our politics that even in the midst of bitter division and dissent, politicians find a path to consensus where possible, and respectful disagreement where it is not. In the real world people don't agree about everything all of the time, nor should they be expected to do so in politics."

He continued: "Politics is at its heart the very process of managing such disagreements. That process is characteristic of a healthy democracy, but it is a character sorely lacking in Scottish politics. It is OK to disagree, both within and between political parties. Or at least, it should be.

"I will continue to represent my West of Scotland constituents on the many issues that matter to them.

"The reality is, that freed from the conventions of collective responsibility, I am able to fight even harder for our island communities, for victims of crime, for our rural communities, for businesses on the Clyde and for the voiceless. That is a privilege which must be used wisely."

Earlier, a source told The Herald that Mr Greene lost his frontbench role as he was too vocal in his support for the GRRB. Another MSP in the group Sandesh Gulhane kept his health spokesman role in the shadow cabinet despite also voting for the GRR bill.

In January Mr Greene wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urging him not to block the bill, which ultimately fell on deaf ears.

"Jamie was removed. He voted for the GRR bill and that didn't help," said the source who added that Mr Gulhane had been less vocal in his support for the legislation.

The source added that Stephen Kerr was also told of the reshuffle on Wednesday which had been planned for some time.

"It was felt that Stephen has now got a focus on winning North Tayside [renamed as Angus and Perthshire Glens]. Stephen was born in Forfar in the constituency and still has local links.

"It is a key target seat, a winnable seat and the election is fast approaching. Stephen will still play a key role in the Scottish Parliament," said the source.

"[The reshuffle] was a chance to promote some of the 2021 intake who had performed well over the last couple of years."