Nicola Sturgeon left spluttering as her trans women policy left in tatters in excruciating grilling

Nicola Sturgeon blustered and stuttered her way through the brutal grilling
Nicola Sturgeon blustered and stuttered her way through the brutal grilling
ITV
Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey


Published: 31/01/2023

- 09:53

The SNP leader struggled to explain contradictions in her own policy

Nicola Sturgeon blustered and stuttered her way through a brutal grilling on trans rights last night, as pressure mounts on the First Minister over a row on women's prisons.

The SNP leader struggled to explain contradictions in her own policy on whether those who change their sex should be treated differently to those who are born as women.


The First Minister has always previously maintained that "trans women are women", but found herself in difficulty over explaining her stance on prison sentences.

Isla Bryson, 31, formerly known as Adam Graham, was found guilty of raping two women when she was a man
Isla Bryson, 31, formerly known as Adam Graham, was found guilty of raping two women when she was a man
Andrew Milligan

The issue has been centre of attention in Scotland following a court case involving a trans woman.

Isla Bryson was initially sent to the women’s prison at Cornton Vale after being convicted of two rapes – which were carried out when she was a man – before being moved to a men’s prison.

After Bryson’s case was raised at First Minister’s Questions, Nicola Sturgeon said the prison service carried out individual risk assessments in such cases and no “formal direction” had been given by the Scottish Government.

Sturgeon said last night she believed trans women should not automatically be allowed to stay in women's prisons.

Asked why she believed there was a difference between the way trans convicts are treated to how they are treated in other spaces, the First Minister found herself in difficulty.

"Look, trans women are women but in the prison context, there's no automatic right for trans women," she started saying before being interrupted in an interview with ITV tone pressed on whether there was context where this was not true.

She said: "There is circumstances in which a trans woman will be housed within the male prison estate because of the nature of their crime."

Spluttering as she attempted to explain her policy, she then added: "There is a risk assessment process done for trans women that takes account of the nature of the crime, with significant concerns rising out of sexual crime and whether it is appropriate for them to be in a female prison or a male prison."

Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans Keith Brown during a ministerial statement on the deaths of John Yuill and Lamara Bell, at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday September 9, 2021.
Keith Brown has launched an urgent review into the Government policy
Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail

The Scottish Tories have demanded on the First Minister to make a statement to Holyrood to clarify government policy on transgender prisoners.

On Sunday Scotland’s Justice Secretary said no transgender prisoner with a history of violence against women will be placed in the women’s prison estate while an “urgent” review takes place.

Keith Brown said the rule will include those guilty of sexual violence towards women.

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