Scotland’s Leader Sturgeon Resigns After Gender Row
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
EDINBURGH (Worthy News) – Scotland’s first minister resigned Wednesday after coming under fire over her controversial gender change law. Nicola Sturgeon pushed through legislation that saw convicted rapists being transferred to women’s prisons as they declared themselves “female.”
Sturgeon, who led the country’s devolved government and the Scottish National Party (SNP) for eight years, said, “it’s time to go.”
Speaking at a hastily arranged news conference in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, she told journalists that she has been “wrestling” with the question of her future for some weeks. However, the funeral for 89-year-old independence campaigner Allan Angus Tuesday had a “clarifying effect” on her thinking, she said.
From the podium in her official residence of Bute House, Sturgeon added, however, that her “decision comes from a place of duty and love.”
Sturgeon has been first minister since November 2014, when she took over from Alex Salmond following an independence referendum.
She had hoped to organize another vote on independence from Britain this year, with opinion polls showing a majority would support life outside Britain.
But Sturgeon’s SNP suffered a blow in November when Britain’s top court ruled that her Scottish government could not hold a second referendum without approval from the British parliament.
Opinion polls suggested most Scots would now vote for independence. There has been outrage about the British government’s move to exit the European Union, the Brexit, that Scotland says undermined its economy.
However, in recent months Sturgeon had disappointed voters, including at least some rape victims, by defending a gender change law despite prison controversies.
The Scottish Parliament passed the legislation in December, making it easier for people — including 16 and 17-year-olds — to change their gender for legal purposes
Recently the Scottish government claimed it did not know that the law had already led to a move to transfer a transgender woman convicted of double rape to a women’s prison.
Under pressure, Sturgeon said her government had nothing to apologize for its handling of the controversy surrounding Isla Bryson, who identifies as a woman.
Last month, Bryson was initially sent to Scotland’s sole all-female jail at Cornton Vale in Stirling for assessment, despite a conviction of raping two women.
Soon after, reports emerged that Tiffany Scott had also been granted a transfer to the female estate despite being subject to an order for lifelong restriction – reserved for Scotland’s most violent and dangerous offenders.
Scott had admitted stalking a 13-year-old girl by sending letters from jail while living as a man and had been granted a transfer to the female estate.
Questions were also raised over the decision to transfer another transgender person, Katie Dolatowski, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl, to Cornton Vale last year.
On Wednesday, Sturgeon said that public opinions about her have become “barriers” to debate. She referred indirectly to the gender change controversy saying issues that are controversial “end up almost irrationally so.”
Sturgeon said themes are seen through the “prism” of what people think about her and called on politicians to “reset the tone and the tenor of our discourse.”
She said she would remain in office as a caretaker leader until the SNP elects her successor. Sturgeon confirmed she intends to stay in Parliament until the next election, expected latest in 2026, and added she looked forward to serving her constituency
She stressed she was looking forward to “a different way of living life.” Although Sturgeon said she was “proud of my time as first minister,” she stressed that the future of Scotland is what matters, and it’s time for someone else.
Sturgeon noted she would be 53 this year and ruse she had been “Nicola Sturgeon the politician” all her life. “Maybe I want to spend a bit of time on Nicola Sturgeon, the human being. Does that sound selfish? I hope it doesn’t.”
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