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Most SNP members agree with sacking of ‘gender critical’ Joanna Cherry

Lily Wakefield February 11, 2021
Scottish National Party MP Joanna Cherry

Scottish National Party MP Joanna Cherry. (Getty/Andy Buchanan / AFP)

SNP members are twice as likely to agree with the sacking of “gender critical” MP Joanna Cherry from the party’s front bench than to oppose it, a poll has shown.

Cherry, who has consistently spoken out against trans rights reforms, was removed from the SNP’s front bench last week in a reshuffle, amid accusations that the party has become a “hub of transphobia“.

She will remain as an SNP MP in the House of Commons as a backbencher.

Despite the cries of “gender critical feminists” that Cherry is being “silenced”, a poll by Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman found that a majority of SNP members agree with the decision.

Between 4 and 9 February, 1,002 people aged 16 or over were polled online. While 31 per cent supported Cherry’s sacking, just 13 per cent opposed it. Those most likely to oppose the decision were over the age of 55.

Savanta ComRes associate director Chris Hopkins said: “While many Scots don’t have a view either way on Joanna Cherry’s sacking – 57 per cent neither support nor oppose the decision, or do not know – supporters of her party are more than twice as likely to support her sacking than oppose it.

“Consistently, SNP supporters side with Sturgeon on matters that could divide the party, putting the current SNP leader in a continually strong position among voters and within her own party.”

The polling also found that 37 per cent of Scots backed much-needed reform of the Gender Recognition Act, with just one in four (26 per cent) opposing it.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon insisted ‘no debate can be a cover for transphobia’ ahead of Joanna Cherry sacking

On 27 January, ahead of Joanna Cherry’s sacking on 1 February, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon condemned anti-trans rhetoric in a video posted to social media, saying that “no debate can be a cover for transphobia”.

On reports of “significant numbers” of young SNP members leaving the party over the transphobia accusations, she said: “It grieves me deeply that you’ve reached this conclusion after much soul-searching because you consider, at this stage, the SNP not to be a safe, tolerant or welcoming place for trans people.

“That’s not acceptable to me, as SNP leader I will do everything I can to change that impression and persuade all of you that the SNP is your party, and that you should come home where you belong.”

But Teddy Hope, who was the trans officer for the official LGBT+ wing of the SNP, Out for Indy, before quitting in January and claiming the SNP is a “hub of transphobia”, said Sturgeon’s statement was “too late”.

Hope said: “I feel that this has come far too late and it goes too deep.

“The thing that I’m worried about is that we’ve left the SNP to their own devices to fix this before. This is what people have been trying to do internally for years, but they haven’t fixed anything at all.

“Transphobia has become normalised within the party, with such prominent members able to say things that are transphobic and no action is taken.”

More: joanna cherry, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland, SNP, Trans, transphobia

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