SNP MSPs who rebelled against the party whip to vote against the Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) Bill have teamed up to work with the Scottish Tories

Michelle Thomson, SNP MSP for Falkirk East, and Russell Findlay, Tory MSP for the West Scotland region, have submitted a joint amendment ahead of the final stage of the GRR Bill being held in Holyrood next week.

The amendment aims to prevent those charged with sexual crimes from changing gender while awaiting trial. 

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Findlay, the Tories community justice spokesperson, has submitted similar amendments to prevent those awaiting trial for domestic abuse and fraud from seeking a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). 

Thomson, who has spoken openly about being raped aged 14 by someone she knew, claimed that victims could be forced to refer to their attacker as "she" during court proceedings.

She told The Times: "The proposed legislation allows a sexual predator or rapist who has been charged but not yet convicted of a sexual offence to be able to apply for a gender recognition certificate.

"If certification is granted, this could require their victim during any subsequent court case, to refer to their attacker as ‘she’.

The National: Scotland's GRR reforms are set for the final stage next weekScotland's GRR reforms are set for the final stage next week

"Were it me, and as someone who has spoken openly of being raped at aged 14, I would consider this deeply offensive and re-traumatising.”

Findlay said he welcomed the opportunity to work "constructively" with Thomson over the "threat of sex criminals exploiting the bill as it's currently drafted".

He said: "Our joint amendment will seek to ban alleged rapists and other sex criminals who are awaiting trial from seeking a GRC until their case has concluded. 

"Our proposal would not limit trans rights in any way, but would solely act as an important block on those who would seek to exploit this legislation.

"We cannot end up in the perverse situation where a male-bodied rapist is referred to as ‘she’ or ‘her’ in a court. I was not assured by the answers given when I previously asked a senior police officer and the justice secretary about this.

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"The reality would be that an alleged rapist with a GRC would be legally entitled to be addressed as ‘she’. Fixing this should be uncontentious – it would be no different to bail conditions which are set by courts every day of the week. It’s not unchartered territory.”

Thomson was one of nine SNP MSPs who defied the party whip to vote against the reforms in October.

However, it passed overwhelmingly with backing from the Greens, Labour, LibDems and two Tory MSPs. 

With the GRR Bill set for its final stage in Holyrood on Wednesday 21 December, calls have been growing for the legislation to be postponed, despite two lengthy consultations which were previously held. 

UN special rapporteur Reem Alsalem claimed last month that the proposed changes would pose a global risk - despite 18 other countries already having similar reforms in place.

The self-ID element of the legislation, which removes the medical requirements of the process, has been the most contentious.

We previously told how a European human rights expert disputed Alsalem's claims and said abuses of the system "haven't occurred" in Belgium or other countries where the policy is in place.

And, six women's and human rights groups hit back at Alsalem's intervention and said they were "surprised and disappointed" by her comments.

And, the chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) said Alsalem appeared to voice support for self-ID for transgender people in a previous letter in 2021, contradicting her latest comments.