SNP minister resigns ahead of vote on gender recognition reform

Ash Regan, the minister for community safety, said she could not vote with the Scottish Government.

Scottish Government minister Ash Regan resigns ahead of debate and vote on gender recognition reform STV News

A Scottish Government minister has resigned ahead of a debate on gender recognition reform.

Ash Regan, the minister for community safety, stated that she cannot vote with the Government on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

The proposals aim to speed up the time it takes to obtain a gender recognition certification, as well as lowering the age for obtaining one from 18 to 16.

In a letter, Regan told First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that her conscience would not allow her to vote with the government at stage one of the Bill.

In response, Sturgeon told Regan that “at no stage” had she approached her or the justice secretary to raise concerns ahead of the vote.

However, she indicated that the only options for Regan would have been to resign or to have been dismissed following the vote.

Regan wrote: “I have considered the issue of Gender Recognition Reform very carefully over some time. I have concluded that my conscience will not allow me to vote with the government at the Stage 1 of the Bill this afternoon. 

“Consequently, I am writing to resign my position in the Scottish Government as Minister for Community Safety.  

“I have greatly valued the opportunity over the last few years to work in Government with colleagues to build a better Scotland.”

The First Minister thanked Regan for her contribution to the Government as she accepted her letter of resignation.

“As you are aware, a key requirement of the Ministerial Code is collective responsibility – a principle essential to effective governance, and which applies across all matters of government policy irrespective of the issue,” Sturgeon wrote.

“I note that at no stage have you approached me – or indeed the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice – to raise your concerns about the Gender Recognition Reform Bill or the vote this evening.

“However, in circumstances in which a Minister is unable to support the government, it is the case that the only options available are resignation ahead of the vote or dismissal thereafter.

“I therefore accept your resignation. Thank you for your contribution to the Scottish Government.”

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