MSP's ministerial nomination withdrawn following transphobic comments row

28 June 2018, 12:55

scottish parliament

The Scottish Government has withdrawn Gillian Martin's ministerial nomination after criticism over transphobic language she used in a blog post.

Nicola Sturgeon named the former college lecturer as minister for further education, higher education and science in her reshuffle on Wednesday.

Opposition politicians planned to oppose her appointment in a vote at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday afternoon, but her name has now been removed from the list of ministers to be confirmed.

Her blog, written before she entered politics, mocked transgender students as "hairy-knuckled, lipstick-wearing transitional laydees" and said college PR staff "froth at the mouth with excitement if anyone in a wheelchair does anything that can be remotely described as an achievement".

In a statement on Thursday morning, she wrote that she deeply regretted the 2007 blog, saying: "It used language that was inappropriate and offensive.

"I expressed myself in a way that did not reflect my view then and certainly does not reflect my view now.

"That is entirely my fault and I am sorry for it."

Raising the issue at First Minister's Questions, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: "Minutes ago Gillian Martin's name was removed from the list of new ministers.

"But the point is this, the First Minister knew about these comments and still proposed to put Gillian Martin in charge of further and higher education.

"In the end this is not just about the judgment of Gillian Martin, First Minister this is about your judgment, isn't it?"

Ms Sturgeon said she would address the issue in a statement following First Minister's Questions.