Humza Yousaf appoints controversial gender reformer as deputy

Douglas Ross slams Humza Yousaf’s record whilst in office

Scotland’s new First Minister Humza Yousaf, voted through as the country’s latest leader this afternoon, is carrying out a full government reshuffle as his first act in office. Despite calls to use the shake-up as an opportunity to create unity within the SNP after their bruising leadership contest, Mr Yousaf picked a controversial MSP to be his deputy.

Shona Robison MSP was announced as the country’s new Deputy First Minister this afternoon, to fanfare and a photoshoot inside the Scottish Parliament.

Under Nicola Sturgeon’s government, Ms Robison served as the country’s Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government.

With her responsibilities for ‘social justice’, it was Ms Robison who pushed through the Scottish Government’s incredibly controversial gender reforms, which many have argued led to Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation from the role.

This afternoon the Scottish Conservatives said “The SNP Minister responsible for the hated GRR Bill – which helped bring down Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership – has now been rewarded with the second top job in Government.”

While taking the divisive bill through the Scottish Parliament, Mrs Robison rubbed up against a UN expert who criticised the policy, warning it would “potentially open the door for violent males who identify as men to abuse the process of acquiring a gender certificate and the rights that are associated with it”.

Ms Robison appeared to hit out at the expert, writing it would be “helpful to know what consultation the [Special Rapporteur] has conducted with relevant organisations in Scotland in considering the proposed reforms”.

She also wrote a Guardian article claiming the government’s decision to block the SNP’s bill “is harmful to trans people”.

Last week, Humza Yousaf appeared to backtrack on his plans to take the UK government to court over their decision to block the gender reform bill, claiming he would need to scrutinise Scottish legal advice.

During the course of the leadership campaign, Mr Yousaf posed with pink heart reading “upholding rights” as part of a pledge to “advance women’s rights”.

In response, author J.K. Rowling asked “now tell us why you voted down the amendment to stop rapists being housed in women’s jails”, in a reference to the Isla Bryson row.

Mr Bryson was convicted in January of raping two women prior to transition to become a woman, and the subsequent passing of Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill sparked a crisis about whether he would be housed in a women’s prison.

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Scottish Labour has also slammed the appointment of Ms Robison, after he disastrous tenure as Scottish Health Secretary.

During Ms Robison’s time as Health Secretary Scotland became the country with the highest number of drug deaths per head in the EU, at nearly three times higher than the UK average.

Shona Robison quit as Health Secretary in 2018, on the day the government confirmed its worst cancer waiting times for six years.

Today Scottish Labour tweeted, “Award for worst Health Secretary of all time: First Minister.”

“Award for second worst Health Secretary of all time: Deputy First Minister.”

The BBC reported that Ms Robison has been “close friends” with Nicola Sturgeon throughout their political careers.

Former party member and SNP defence spokesman Stuart Crawford says “the SNP has signed its own death warrant” after the election of Humza Yousaf as leader of the party.

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