Scottish Green LGBT group launch petition on future of Bute House Agreement

The LGBT wing of the Scottish Greens has launched a petition questioning the future of the party’s deal with the SNP after the prescription of puberty blockers in Scotland was paused.

The Rainbow Greens launched the push on Thursday following the announcement from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde that the prescription of puberty blockers for new patients at its gender services clinic based at the Sandyford Clinic in Glasgow would be paused.

The decision was taken last month, but not announced publicly to ensure all patients could be notified first, according to a spokesman for First Minister Humza Yousaf.

It comes after the publication of the Cass Review, which said the evidence base for such treatments was thin and their prescription should be treated with “caution”.

The Rainbow Greens published an open letter within hours of the announcement, calling for an emergency general meeting to discuss the future of the powersharing agreement.

Speaking at a protest in Glasgow’s George Square on Thursday, Rainbow Greens co-convener Jen Bell said: “For years, gender affirming care has been shadow banned in Scotland due to lack of reform.

“Trans patients have been forced to languish on years-long waiting lists or go private at considerable expense.

“In the Bute House Agreement the Scottish Government promised to dismantle the gatekeeper system and put trans patients at the heart of decisions on their own healthcare. Sandyford’s decision breaks that promise.

“If the Government fails to keep its promises then the future of the Bute House Agreement is called into question, and the members will demand answers. Greens in Government would do well to take heed.”

Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay said: “Trans rights are human rights, and we are very concerned about the decision announced by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the potential impacts it will have on young people.

“This was a clinical decision and not a Scottish Government one, and we are in close discussions with colleagues on how to resolve the issue and ensure the well-being of trans people is at the heart of our response.”

The Bute House Agreement has proven contentious in recent years, but usually within the SNP, with a number of high profile members calling for a re-think, including former leadership candidate Kate Forbes and prominent rebel Fergus Ewing – who has pushed for it to be scrapped in its entirety.