Joanna Cherry threatened SNP with legal action

Joanna Cherry threatened SNP with legal action

Joanna Cherry KC

Joanna Cherry KC has revealed she was ready to pursue legal action against the SNP after some of her Westminster colleagues attempted to prevent her from addressing a gender-critical charity’s conference.

During a talk at the Fringe, the advocate and MP expressed her belief that First Minister Humza Yousaf aspires to “heal” the rift within the SNP regarding the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

Ms Cherry recounted instances of homophobic bullying from peers during the preceding leadership. When asked for a specific incident, she referred to the backlash she received after accepting an invitation to the LGB Alliance conference in 2021.

Addressing the attendees, she said: “A number of my colleagues harangued and tried to prevent me from speaking at the [LGB Alliance] conference and demanded that I have the whip removed.”

She warned the party, however, that if they attempted to obstruct her, she would take them to court.

But, she said: “The leaderships under which that happened, both leaders, have moved on. And certainly, as I said, Stephen Flynn has been immensely supportive.

“We’ve had civilised discussions about my position on this issue and I’m in touch with Humza, also and I think he wants, my impression is, he wants to engage with a bit of healing about what’s going on in the party.”

Of her future aspirations, she said: “I don’t want to be in opposition for the rest of my life. I would really like to be in government and that’s why I would like to be able to stand for Holyrood.”

“The Westminster group was a very difficult environment for me to work in for a number of years. And one day I’ll tell the full story of what happened behind the scenes.

“Certainly since Stephen Flynn has become the leader of the Westminster group that has changed because Stephen is his own man. I think he’s one to watch. I think he’s potential future SNP leader.

“The intolerance that has happened within the SNP in recent years, I like to see it as a blip in our party’s history. It’s over. We move forward in a different way.”

Earlier in the week, SNP MP Mhairi Black remarked during a discussion on gender reforms that trans individuals were “not an intellectual debate”. Reacting to this, Ms Cherry responded: “I saw my colleague Mhari Black saying she didn’t want to have a debate about this. I’m very happy to have an intellectual debate because that’s what I’m paid to do.”

She added: “I believe there is a responsibility for those of us elected to legislate to engage with the detail of legislation and with the consequences of legislation.

“If politicians can’t cope with nuance and politicians don’t want intellectual debate then they’re in the wrong job.”

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