Ash Regan’s integrity is a source of inspiration for all politicians - Susan Dalgety

​I disagree fundamentally with Ash Regan on the matter of independence. I think Scotland would be far worse off if we were to leave the UK. ​But that apart, I am full of admiration for the Alba MSP for Edinburgh Eastern.
Alba MSP Ash ReganAlba MSP Ash Regan
Alba MSP Ash Regan

She is one of the most courageous politicians I know. She stands up for what she believes in, whether that is a separate Scotland or women’s sex-based rights.

Witness her speech last Tuesday in the Scottish Parliament where she spoke during the Stage 1 debate on the bill to amend the law on women’s representation on public boards.

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The SNP Government had added a late change of wording to the 2018 bill which defined a woman as anyone who identifies as one.

Legal action by campaign group For Women Scotland led to a ruling that this definition was unlawful, and the government has been forced to update the bill – a move that Ash Regan supports.

Importantly, she pointed out that self-identified trans women are not women under Scots law, but her short speech went further than criticising her erstwhile colleagues for their adherence to the fantasy that men can become women simply by asserting they have changed sex.

She used the examples of the discredited gender recognition reform bill and the new hate crime law that comes into force today to argue that the government wastes huge amounts of money on issues that do not reflect public opinion.

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This undermines trust in the Scottish Government, she said, adding: “Most disturbingly for me as an independence supporter, it has also undermined trust in the Scottish Parliament as an institution.”

Depressingly, she is right. As a supporter of devolution, I too worry that recent policy decisions, such as self-ID, have been pushed through the parliament by a political elite out of touch with the concerns of the general public.

Ash Regan took a big risk when she left the SNP to join the Alba party. It is unlikely that she will hold on to her seat under that banner, but by 2026 there is every chance she could be returned as a list member. The Scottish Parliament needs more people like her.

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