Anger over trans woman on all-female SNP shortlist The Times 22.10.20

The original article is here.

The SNP civil war over its gender recognition proposals has intensified after a trans woman was selected for an all-female shortlist.

Mridul Wadhwa, a trans rights activist who has no gender recognition certificate, appeared at a Stirling hustings, prompting allegations that SNP headquarters was ruling “by diktat” and had broken the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act, 2002, designed to promote all-women shortlists.

One SNP member said: “The whole idea of this law is to help support women and get more women into position to participate in political life.

“The suffragettes would be spinning in their graves. We’ve seen the abuse women politicians are getting at Westminster, but they’ve kept on going despite that. To then have a biological man rock up and say, ‘I’m a woman and I’m going to represent you’, well, the answer is, ‘No. You can’t possibly’.”

She added: “This issue is tearing the party apart.”

The SNP government already faces a legal challenge amid growing anger that a man who identifies as a member of the opposite sex will be legally recognised as a woman under the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018.

For Women Scotland, the campaign group granted a judicial review of the 2018 legislation, said the Stirling case showed the SNP was “playing fast and loose with women’s rights and the very definition of what it is to be a woman”.

In Stirling party members are angered by an SNP establishment which “allows no public discourse”. One member said: “You can’t see your councillors, MPs and MSPs because of the pandemic, and people are using social media without enabling replies, or they block you. It’s not only that it’s centralisation, there is no discussion, just diktats coming from HQ.”

These SNP stalwarts say the extraordinary rush of recruits in the wake of the 2014 referendum has changed the party establishment.

“There is a whole load of young careerists, who have jumped on board. Sometimes ministers aren’t even aware what’s going on,” said one member.

Another said Stirling central branch was dominated by trans activists who wanted to “turn the dial” and move gender recognition legislation forward.

Ms Wadhwa moved from India to Scotland in about 2002.

In a filmed interview with Pink News, she said her passport identifies her as female, but her Indian birth certificate registers her as male.

Members complained that when they wrote to party HQ complaining about the appearance of Ms Wadhwa on the shortlist they had received no reply.

The SNP and Ms Wadhwa declined to comment.

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