IN her excellent article about misogyny in politics (Mar 29) Maggie Chapman rightly calls out the recent behaviour of Tory MSPs Stephen Kerr and Edward Mountain, identifying what took place as “not physically violent ... but symptomatic of the monotonous everyday sexism women face even in the most powerful institutions.”

I would like to point out that the Health and Safety Executive defines workplace violence as “any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work” and clarifies that it is important to recognise that this can include verbal abuse and threats as well as physical attacks. The harassment that Ms Chapman described in her article clearly falls within this definition. In detailing the outcome of this behaviour, citing the Scottish Parliament’s Gender Sensitive Audit as an illustration, she puts it beyond doubt that it is correct to consider these incidents as workplace violence.

READ MORE: Maggie Chapman: That's it, I'm finished with Stephen Kerr's s***

How can we expect the Scottish Government to address any violence within wider society while it is beset with workplace violence within its chamber? Only when we call this behaviour what it is and see all of our elected representatives leading by example will we achieve greater success in reducing violence across our country.

Outside the restrictions on freely calling a spade a spade within the Scottish Parliament and at the risk of being charged with libel, I am confident that under the terms of the HSE definition I can safely say that Stephen Kerr MSP is a perpetrator of workplace violence. The whole of our country will benefit when the Scottish Parliament addresses this issue.

Ni Holmes
St Andrews

THE latest implementation of controls available to the Westminster government by the Internal Market Act (IMA) is to refuse to allow the Scottish Government an exemption to the IMA to ban the sale or use of glue traps in Scotland.

The Westminster government is not contesting the right of Holyrood to make the legislation to ban the devices, but it is contesting its deployment and use as it states this will affect the internal market, where pest controllers in Scotland would not be permitted to purchase from other countries and use them in Scotland.

READ MORE: How the UK Government ignited a fresh devolution row by blocking MORE Scottish law

Westminster will ban the public’s use of glue traps in England and Wales from July 2024, and only pest control will be permitted to buy and use them. It’s a very odd situation.

I wondered if any other countries had banned these glue traps. It appears certain states of Australia have, but not the whole of Australia. It seems Australia’s internal market isn’t affected by this ban, or possibly they are better able to manage the situation, or diversity is respected.

These traps are indiscriminate, and the rodents or other animals trapped die slowly. This is a very good reason not to use them.

To be clear, the Westminster devolution settlement allows devolved governments to legislate anything they want within their competence, but to deploy it requires an exemption from the IMA.

The Act was passed in 2020. If it was needed, why wasn’t it part of the original Scotland Act devolving powers to the Scottish Government?

This is another example of the “power grab” of the Internal Market Act, restricting the ability of the devolved governments (Wales too, by the way) to legislate.

Alistair Ballantyne

WILL the rest of Scotland follow the north-east in thinking Alex Salmond would be the best First Minister?

The National’s coverage of the poll that showed Douglas Ross is preferred by more Scots than Anas Sarwar in terms of who would be the best First Minister was interesting reading.

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar snubbed as Scots 'prefer Douglas Ross' for first minister

It is a devastating poll for Humza Yousaf. He has the backing of about a quarter of Scotland and this may well be a bellwether for SNP support at the General Election. Unfortunately, even though Sarwar and Ross are behind Yousaf, we will see tactical voting that will result in a rout of the SNP.

The real story of the poll is that nearly a quarter of SNP voters at the 2019 General Election think Alex Salmond would make the best First Minister. Salmond is the top pick in the north-east likely because the SNP and Greens have poured cold water on the areas key industry. After a visionless year in office it’s only a matter of time before the rest of Scotland takes its lead from the north-east.

Frank Wood
Port Glasgow

ON March 31, according to the BBC, the biggest story was apparently that one of the richest men in the UK was taken by car the short distance to a chapel in the grounds of his estate. He then deigned to shake hands with a few people.

Had the story been a day later I might have seen a parallel with the spaghetti harvest reported by David Dimbleby in 1957. But, alas, no, and the story was perpetuated in the rest of the UK press on Monday – but perhaps that was the actual April Fool story?

Ian Lawson