Frontrunner to replace Sturgeon is an SNP gender reform rebel

Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation celebrated by Scots in Glasgow

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Nicola Sturgeon could be faced with the ignomony of being replaced by a woman who openly defied her and resigned from her government. has been told that Ash Regan, who wants to invite Alex Salmond and members of his rival Alba Party back, is being encouraged to stand as SNP leader.

A senior SNP figure said that Ms Regan is “a leadership candidate to look out for” adding that “Nicola [Sturgeon] and her supporters will be doing their best to discredit her.”

The SNP source said: “She [Sturgeon] does not like people defying her.”

Ms Regan resigned from the Scottish Governent as a community safety minister in protest over the controversial Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

The legislation would allow people to self declare a new gender within three months – including 16-year-olds without parental consent.

It also would have enabled rapists to reidentify and be moved to a women’s prison.

The Bill was passed in Holyrood but eventually blocked by the UK Government in Westminister using unprecedented powers in the Scotland Act to safeguard the wider impact on the UK.

It is understood that Ms Regan is now considering her position and is emerging as a favourite for a clean break from a tarnished Sturgeon eight-year era.

The Edinburgh East MSP has also been vocal about calling for the SNP to welcome back those former members who defected to Alba when Mr Salmond formed a breakaway party.

Salmond has also hit out over the gender reform legislation claiming it undid 15 years of work on the independence cause.

After Ms Sturgeon’s emotional resignation yesterday, Ms Regan was conciliatory in her response.

She said: “Over eight years of being leader of the SNP and FM with eight election wins she leaves a great legacy behind.

“I really wish Nicola Sturgeon all the best in the future and I thank her for her determined leadership which has improved the lives of many in Scotland.”

But should she succeed, Ms Regan would represent another face on a new generation of the SNP pushing aside the establishment leadership.

Last month, Ian Blackford was forced out as Westminster leader and replaced by Stephen Flynn who defeated Sturgeon’s preferred candidate Alison Thewless.

Mr Flynn has now called for Ms Sturgeon’s controversial conference to discuss plans to turn the next Westminster election into a de facto referendum to be “paused.”

Ms Regan agreed with his demands.

On Thursday morning she Tweeted: “The SNP special conference should now be postponed whilst a leadership contest will also be ongoing.

“I also call for all those members who have left the party over the last year to be able to rejoin over the next month and be allowed to participate in the leadership election.”

A potential ally for Ms Regan is Joanna Cherry who also defied Ms Sturgeon over gender recognition reform.


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Ms Cherry tweeted. “Many women left the party in exasperation as their rights were thrown under the bus. Others left in despair over the independence strategy. We need these people back. There should be a moratorium on all resignations over the last two years.”

The Edinburgh South West MP added: “A number of SNP members have been suspended from the party without due process or because of complaints of “transphobia” on a definition which is not ECHR or Equality Law compliant. They must be reinstated or the leadership result could be challenged.”

The current favourite to take over from Ms Sturgeon is former Westminster leader Angus Robertson with Deputy First Minister John Swinney, a former leader, and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes is also in the mix.

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