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Is Holyrood living up to the principles it was founded on?

  • First published in : Visit Website
  • First published on: 18th Mar 2022

Whether or not indyref2 happens next year – and readers should appreciate that I am completely out of the loop on the plans– our parliamentary democracy is due an overhaul. It’s easy to criticise Westminster but there are problems closer to home. This is not just my view but the view of Prof James Mitchell, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh, and a seasoned commentator on the Scottish political scene. 

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It’s a disgrace UK is not doing more to help the women of Ukraine

  • First published in : Visit Website
  • First published on: 11th Mar 2022

On Tuesday the atmosphere was electric when President Zelensky of Ukraine made his historic address to the House of Commons. The one-time comic actor who has in the past been mocked as a political novice showed yet again his gravitas, statesman like qualities, and his grit and determination on behalf of his people. Echoing Winston Churchill he said 'We will fight them in the sea, air, forests, fields and streets... we will not surrender'. 

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Why UK absolutely MUST open doors to more refugees from Ukraine

  • First published in : Visit Website
  • First published on: 04th Mar 2022

For a brief moment at PMQs this week Boris Johnson told the truth when a Labour MP challenged him on the UK’s inability to guarantee the territorial integrity of Ukraine. While stressing that nobody wants war, Chris Bryant made a fair point by drawing a contrast with the energy and sacrifice expended when Belgium and Poland were similarly invaded in the first half of the 20th century. 

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My appeal to the Scottish Government to press pause on gender self-ID

  • First published in : Visit Website
  • First published on: 25th Feb 2022

Last week I wrote about what the constitution of an independent Scotland might look like and reminded readers that, back in 2014, it was the intention of the Scottish Government to enshrine the protected characteristics of the Equality Act into our fundamental law. If that had happened then current efforts to redefine what it is to be a woman may well have been unconstitutional, while at the same time the rights of trans people as defined by the protected characteristic of “gender reassignment” would have continued to enjoy equal protection. 

Instead, it took Scotland’s Supreme Court, the Inner House of the Court of Session, chaired by Lady Dorrian, Scotland’s second most senior judge and the first woman ever to hold the role, to remind us that at least under the Equality Act, a piece of legislation largely reserved to Westminster, a woman is a female of any age and provisions in favour of women, by definition, exclude those who are biologically male. 

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Tories will trample over Scotland to take teeth out of Human Rights Act

  • First published in : Visit Website
  • First published on: 18th Feb 2022

Last week I wrote about the Tories plans to water down the Human Rights Act. The implications for Scotland are stark. The Joint Committee of Human Rights (JCHR) at Westminster took evidence on this last year. We heard from Judith Robertson, the Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, who reminded us that the Human Rights Act (HRA) is intertwined with the Scotland Act and the whole establishment of devolution, and that weakening or changing that framework might have complex implications that are not yet fully understood. 

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Joanna Cherry QC MP

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