OUTRAGE as Nicola Sturgeon’s gender reform bill is compared to Nelson Mandela’s fight against apartheid - 'Shame on the SNP!'

SNP frontbencher Angus Robertson has been criticised after comparing the gender reform bill to Nelson Mandela's fight against apartheid
SNP frontbencher Angus Robertson has been criticised after comparing the gender reform bill to Nelson Mandela's fight against apartheid

Fury as SNP chief says gender reform bill follows example of Nelson Mandela

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SNP frontbencher Angus Robertson has sparked anger after quoting Nelson Mandela as he defended the gender reform bill.

The Constitution Secretary suggested the new Scottish proposals follow the late South African’s example which has been branded “absurd” and “offensive”.

A controversial gender bill which allows transgender people to self-identify was passed by MSPs in Scotland last week.

The Gender Recognition Reforms (Scotland) Bill, which removes the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria to acquire a gender recognition certificate (GRC) was passed by 86 votes to 39.

Angus Robertson has been criticised for his comments
Angus Robertson has been criticised for his comments

It also reduces the minimum age for applicants to 16 and lowers the time required for an applicant to live in their preferred gender from two years to three months.

According to Mr Robertson the Bill will “advance rights in keeping with Nelson Mandela's wise words”.

Some women’s groups have protested the new Bill including author JK Rowling who labelled Nicola Sturgeon a “destroyer of women’s rights”.

One Scottish Tory spokesman raised concerns over the freedom and safety of women.

He told the Daily Mail: "This is an absurd parallel for Angus Robertson to draw.

"Nicola Sturgeon's flawed Bill is not remotely comparable with Nelson Mandela's brave fight for freedom.

"The majority of Scots oppose this legislation precisely because it curtails the freedom of women and girls by risking their safety and security."

In his column for the Edinburgh Evening News, Mr Robertson said: “To quote Nelson Mandela, ‘to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others’.

“In passing this legislation, I fervently believe the parliament and the people of Scotland have taken one more step in doing just that.”

Women's rights groups have been campaigning against the reform bill
Women's rights groups have been campaigning against the reform bill

Mr Robertson’s comments received criticism online with some saying the comparison to Mandela was “outrageous”.

Twitter user David Blakeman said: “The South African Government has every right to be outraged as should every reasonable person the world over. Shame on SNP, shame on Scotland.”

While another said: “How dare you mention the end of apartheid and this appalling bill in the same way! You are a disgrace and embarrassment to Scotland.”

A petition has been launched calling for the Equality Act to recognise biological sex and not sex “as modified by a gender recognition certificate”.