SNP minister is heckled by Question Time audience after refusing to say if double rapist Isla Bryson is a man or woman – after Nicola Sturgeon faced roasting over her trans prisoner policy
- Jenny Gilruth kept calling the sex attacker ‘the individual’ on BBC show last night
- The audience in Glasgiow reacted angrily while viewers called it ‘excrutiating’
A SNP MSP was shouted down by a Question Time audience last night after repeatedly refusing to say whether transgender rapist Isla Bryson is a man or a woman.
Nicola Sturgeon’s Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth kept calling the sex attacker ‘the individual’ on the BBC show last night, with viewers branding it ‘excruciating’ TV.
And the audience in Glasgow, a city where Nicola Sturgeon has her constituency, reacted angrily after two minutes of Ms Gilruth declining to say what Bryson’s gender is.
It came after the crisis over Ms Sturgeon’s gender laws deepened yesterday after she refused three times to say if Bryson, who before being charged with rape was called Adam Graham, is a woman – despite the abuser initially being placed in a women’s prison.
The First Minister also suggested she believes a transgender rapist is only pretending to be a woman – undermining her party’s policy on ‘self-ID’ – a central plank of the SNP’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill. Some have claimed the scandal could see her forced from power.
Nicola Sturgeon’s Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth kept calling the sex attacker Isla Bryson ‘the individual’ on the BBC show last night, with viewers calling it ‘excruciating’
The First Minister and her MSPs tried to avoid answering questions about Isla Bryson, who was convicted of violent sex attacks on two women while a man called Adam Graham and initially thrown in a women’s jail
On Question Time last night, panellist Ella Whelan said to Ms Gilruth of the rapist: ‘Most people at home will have noticed that you keep saying “The Individual”. Is Adam Graham a man or a woman? What is your answer?’
The MSP replied: ‘This individual is a rapist’ before saying she ‘didn’t know enough about the individual concerned to make a judgement’, adding that Nicola Sturgeon felt the same.
Ms Gilruth then said that the Scottish Prison Service should be ‘trusted’ to make the decision about what prison a trans person should be in – before Ms Whelan cut across to say: ‘You haven’t answered my question’.
The Transport Minister for Scotland said: ‘Yes I have’ before angry members of the audience stepped in and shouted: ‘No you haven’t’. Host Fiona Bruce then said: ‘I think we should give her one more chance to answer’.
But boos and scowls were heard as Ms Gilruth said again: ‘This individual is a rapist’.
Ms Sturgeon contradicted both the insistence of her colleagues that the double rapist is indeed a woman, and her government’s view that anyone should be allowed to change sex legally at the stroke of a pen.
It comes after the SNP leader was forced into a humiliating U-turn on Bryson – who started transitioning only after being charged with two rapes, which were committed when Bryson identified as a man called Adam Graham – being held in a female prison.
And in an excruciating TV interview earlier this week, Ms Sturgeon was forced to admit that transgender women can be treated differently to biological females.
Yesterday she was put on the spot again in the Scottish Parliament. Asked if she agreed with her justice secretary, Keith Brown, that the rapist’s identification as a woman must be accepted, Ms Sturgeon would say only: ‘I think that a rapist should be considered a rapist. That is what I think.
‘I’m not going to get into the individual circumstances of that particular individual’s claims to be a woman because I don’t have enough information about that.’
Asked again if Bryson was a woman, the First Minister said: ‘This individual claims to be a woman. What I said is that I don’t have information about whether those claims have validity or not.’
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross then read a quote from one of Bryson’s victims, who said: ‘I don’t believe he’s truly transgender. I feel as if he’s made a mockery out of them using it. As far as I’m concerned, that was to make things easier for himself.’
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: ‘I’m not going to get into the individual circumstances of that particular individual’s claims to be a woman because I don’t have enough information about that’
In response, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘The quote that Douglas Ross narrated there, my feeling is that is almost certainly the case.’
Campaign group Fair Play For Women said: ‘So Nicola Sturgeon says she can’t say if this individual rapist is a woman because “I don’t have enough information about that”. Self-ID doesn’t rely on you having information about anything. That’s the point and why it makes bad law.’
Law lecturer Michael Foran said: ‘Nicola Sturgeon can’t refuse to get into the details of whether a convicted rapist should be classed as a woman. She proposed law that would allow them to do so by self-declaration and her party voted down all amendments seeking to add safeguards to prevent self-ID for rapists.’
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