Edinburgh MP Joanna Cherry's Fringe show to go ahead after The Stand comedy club apologises for cancelling it
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The Edinburgh South West MP had threatened to take the club to court unless it backed down on its decision not to host the "In Conversation With” interview event with Ms Cherry because some of its staff were unwilling to work at it due to her opposition to gender self-identification.
The club – co-founded by fellow SNP MP Tommy Sheppard – issued a statement on Friday admitting the cancellation had been "unfair and constituted unlawful discrimination" against Ms Cherry. It said it hoped the event would now go ahead and offered Ms Cherry an unreserved apology.
The MP, a vocal critic of the Scottish Government's gender recognition reforms, said it was a "very welcome move” by The Stand. She said: “I accept their apology and I'm looking forward to taking a part in the event".
Ms Cherry told BBC Radio Scotland: "I didn't want to have to take legal action here, and this was never about money, but what my hope is that the fact that The Stand have fully and frankly accepted that cancelling the event on account of my philosophical views as a lesbian and a feminist was unlawful, I really hope that's going to benefit other women, and indeed men, by discouraging other people from discriminating against people like me who fully support equal rights for trans people but don't believe that any man should be able to self identify as a woman.
"And I really hope that the detailed legal opinion I got on this issue, which remains published on my website, will be of benefit to other people in the future and will prevent other organisations from undertaking this kind of unlawful discrimination."
The club had invited her to appear at the August interview event earlier this year, but withdrew its invitation after it said "key operational staff" had raised concerns about the MP's views and made clear they did not want to work at the event.
But Ms Cherry announced her intention to sue if the club did not go ahead with the event, vowing to "take whatever legal action is necessary to vindicate my right to not be misrepresented and not to be discriminated against".
The Stand said it had taken its own legal advice before making both the decision to cancel and before it made Friday's apology to her. A spokesman for the club previously said it thought the event would be "be impossible to stage because a number of staff had expressed an unwillingness to work on the day it was due to take place, citing their personal discomfort with some of Joanna Cherry's views".
Making its apology, it said it had "sent a detailed response to Ms Cherry and her legal team and have spoken to the event's promoters to confirm that we will be able to host the event as originally planned". A spokesman said: "The Stand will donate our share of the profit from the event to one of our partner charities, Edinburgh Food Project.
"The management of the event will be discussed with staff in the coming weeks. We have always been clear that we oppose all forms of discrimination and recognise the rights of individuals to air views with which we may disagree. We hope that this apology draws a line under this episode and allows The Stand to get back to doing what it does best."