AN SNP MSP has said she would’ve expected disciplinary action to be taken against her if she had voted against the Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) Bill after nine of her colleagues rebelled against the party.

It comes after SNP MP Alyn Smith said any of his party colleagues who oppose the bill should resign and stand as independents.

The commitment to simplifying the gender recognition process was in the 2021 SNP manifesto for the Scottish election, though there was no specific detail on self-ID.

When she spoke to The National, Emma Roddick – who voted with the government – said she “totally gets where Alyn is coming from”, adding she would’ve expected punishment up to and including suspension if she had voted against the reforms.

SNP MSPs Ash Regan, Stephanie Callaghan, Annabelle Ewing, Fergus Ewing, Jim Fairlie, Kenny Gibson, Ruth Maguire, John Mason and Michelle Thomson did oppose the bill.

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Regan resigned her ministerial post in opposition to the plans, but the rebels have so far not been disciplined by the party for defying the whip.

Mason also told The National he would not leave the party he was “totally at home” in, and felt the commitment laid out in the manifesto on GRR was “vague”.

Asked what she had made of Smith’s comment, Roddick said: “It’s such a complex issue. I voted for this bill because I support this bill as well as it being party policy and what the Scottish Government wanted to do.

“There have been times where I’ve disagreed with our position on certain amendments or other votes in the Scottish Parliament, but the way I’ve disagreed with that is by raising it within the group.

“At the end of the day you’ve got to weigh up because as a party MSP you expect there to be disciplinary action taken against you if you rebel from your party on something, especially if it’s in your manifesto.

“At a certain point you have to decide whether your membership of the party is worth as much to you as the particular issue.

“Personally if I voted against a manifesto commitment, I would expect action to be taken against me up to and including suspension from the party so I totally get where Alyn is coming from.”

Roddick added that even though the pledge in the manifesto to make it easier to gain a Gender Recognition Certificate was set out in a “broad” way, she insisted the resulting bill could not have been drawn up any differently.

She added: “I guess it was broad but I don’t see that the proposals that ended up coming forward in the bill [could have been any different]. I don’t know what the step down would’ve been from that that would still make the process easier.

“There’s a whole process too that people keep forgetting about. The equalities, human rights and civil justice committee put in hours and hours of work into scrutinising these proposals. That’s a huge bit of work to turnaround and disregard.

“When our commitment was to simplify the process and people were telling us ‘this is how you simplify the process’, I don’t think you can divorce that from the manifesto commitment.”

Mason said he felt the mix of views within the SNP – with everyone bound together by the common cause of independence for Scotland – was a strength of the party.

The National: John Mason said he won't quit the SNP despite his opposition to gender reformJohn Mason said he won't quit the SNP despite his opposition to gender reform (Image: Newsquest)

He described manifestos as a “direction of travel” but it would be “strange” if all candidates agreed with every policy in them.

Mason said: “The SNP has always been a big tent because the thing that holds us together is independence and freedom for Scotland so there has always been – and I hope there always will be – a variety of opinions within the SNP on a host of issues.

“Assisted dying for example, I hope that will be a free vote, but I’m sure there will be a variety of opinions on that.

“But even if you take something like taxation – some people would like higher tax and some people would like lower tax.

“There is a variety of opinions in the SNP and that is a strength of the SNP and the wider independence movement.

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“Manifestos give a direction of travel and it was very vague [the commitment to simplify the gender recognition process]. I’m happy to go along with what was said about simplifying the process but there are bigger and other issues and even if that was the sense of direction for the whole party, I think we should be able to tolerate minority views on a range of issues.”

Asked if he would leave the party given his opposition to the GRR bill, he added: “No because I’m totally happy with Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership.

“I have always agreed with 95% of SNP policies. Even Alyn [Smith] said himself not everyone agrees 100%, that would be a bit strange.

“I am totally at home in the SNP. If you’re elected for the SNP you’ve got a duty to carry on that term. I see no reason for anyone leaving the party.”