Alex Salmond is at the centre of a row about transgender rights over a remark he is alleged to have made to broadcaster Jim Spence.
Writing for The Courier, Mr Spence claimed the former first minister complained to him the SNP had been “captured by around a hundred loony tune transgender warriors”.
Nicola Sturgeon said the reported remarks were “a complete mischaracterisation of reality” and also “pretty offensive”.
Alba Party leader Mr Salmond insists the quotation is inaccurate, however, and this is his response.
This was a private conversation some six weeks ago when I was seeking Jim’s endorsement for Alba.
I remember the circumstances very well indeed although I don’t accept that what appears in his column represents an exact quotation.
It should be made clear for example that I was referring to so called “key board warriors”, unjustly labelling other people as transphobic.
When I spoke to Jim I had just come off a phone call from Joanna Cherry MP who had told me of the continuing abuse and pile-ons she was receiving online from a group of SNP members because she was speaking out from a lesbian and feminist perspective.
She had told me in that call that she was temporarily withdrawing from frontline politics for a few weeks on health grounds and that these on-line attacks had contributed to that.
At that time an SNP member had just been convicted at Edinburgh Sheriff Court for online threats of sexual violence against her.
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.
People have the right to freely express their views without being labelled transphobic.
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.
We have 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.