Alex Salmond claims his reported remarks about the SNP being captured by “loony tune transgender warriors” are inaccurate, insisting those were not his “exact words”.
The Alba party leader and former first minister of Scotland is alleged to have made the comment to Scottish broadcaster Jim Spence, who reported it in The Courier on Tuesday (4 May).
“If you’d told me seven years ago that the party that I once led would be captured by around a hundred loony tune transgender warriors I’d have laughed at you,” Salmond purportedly said.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon condemned the alleged comments, describing his words as “pretty offensive” and “a complete mischaracterisation of reality”.
Salmond admitted having a “private conversation” with Spence six weeks ago when he was seeking endorsement for the Alba party, but insists he did not use those specific words.
“I remember the circumstances very well indeed although I don’t accept that what appears in his column represents an exact quotation,” he told The Courier.
“It should be made clear for example that I was referring to so called ‘key board warriors’ unjustly labelling other people as transphobic.”
He said that his conversation with Spence followed a phone call with the former SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who told him of the abuse she receives online for her “gender critical” views.
“I did say to Jim that I never thought that such behaviour by such keyboard warriors would be part of SNP politics, of the party which I was proud to lead for 20 years, and that I would have laughed at the very suggestion a few years ago,” Salmond said.
He went on to state Alba’s position on trans rights, which focuses heavily on the “sex-based rights” of women and suggests that these must be “sacrificed” in favour of trans equality.
“People have the right to freely express their views without being labelled transphobic,” he said.
“Alba as a party have put forward a strong defence of women’s sex-based rights as exemplified in the equalities policy published by our 18 women candidates on Sunday.”
The party has called for the issue of self-identification to be referred to a Citizens Assembly “to take some of the toxic heat out of the issue and find a way of reconciling the understandable search for equality without sacrificing the hard won sex-based rights of women”.
The issue has already been put to a public consultation which found overwhelming support for self-identification. Further YouGov polling on behalf of PinkNews also supported this finding.