JOANNA Cherry has rejected an apparent call from a fellow SNP MP for those who oppose the Scottish Government’s gender reform legislation to quit the party.
Speaking to BBC Good Morning Scotland on Tuesday, Alyn Smith said politicians who stand under the SNP banner should be obliged to support the party's manifesto.
The Stirling MP has previously criticised his colleagues over their opposition to the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.
The BBC asked Smith if he regretted his earlier comments.
He replied: “No, not in the slightest. The SNP is a collective. We had a rip-roaring debate within the SNP and then we reach a collective view, then it is up to any SNP candidate to defend that view.
“Do I agree with every single item of SNP policy? No, I don’t, I’ve got my doubts about some, but I stand on an SNP ticket, therefore I am obliged to defend the SNP proposition and defend the SNP position because the collective is more important than the individual.
“If you want to be an individual, stand as an individual and see how you get on.
“If you stand on a manifesto commitment you need to implement it and respect the mandate that you were given by your party members who you serve.”
Smith added: “I don’t believe in SNP a la carte ... it is sensitive, of course it is, but the SNP is a team and we need to act as a team.”
Cherry, a vocal critic of the Scottish Government's gender reform legislation, hit back at Smith, warning SNP rebels are “not going anywhere”.
The Edinburgh South West MP also pushed back against her colleague's manifesto comments, saying self-ID for trans people was not contained inside the document.
The SNP's manifesto for the last Holyrood election vowed to reform the Gender Recognition Act to “improve and simplify the process by which a trans person can obtain legal recognition”.
It added: “We will ensure that these changes do not affect the rights or protections that women currently have under the Equality Act.”
Self identification was not promised in the SNP manifesto & our conference did not debate never mind back it. We rebels are going nowhere particularly now that events have substantiated our legitimate concerns. I hope that’s clear. https://t.co/ybXyWVxynb— Joanna Cherry KC (@joannaccherry) January 31, 2023
Cherry said that in light of recent events - referencing the cases of Isla Bryson and Tiffany Scott - her concerns had been "substantiated".
She said: “Self-identification was not promised in the SNP manifesto & our conference did not debate never mind back it.
"We rebels are going nowhere particularly now that events have substantiated our legitimate concerns. I hope that’s clear.
“Apart from anything else many of us have resisted years of bullying. Why on Earth would we give up now?”
Scotland's gender reforms bill makes it easier for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC). It reduces the requirement for gender dysphoria and lowers the age a person can change their gender from 18 to 16.
The legislation was passed overwhelmingly by MSPs but was later blocked by the UK Government.
The Tories, along with some women's groups, have raised concerns the bill would encroach on women's rights, particularly single-sex spaces.