John Mason clashed with a Green MSP over a question he asked about transgender women in prisons in Scotland.
The Glasgow Shettleston MSP was accused of anti trans dog whistles after he asked about safety in women’ s jails
Mason had asked the Justice Secretary, Keith Brown: “How many people whose biological sex is male are currently in women’s prisons in Scotland?”.
Keith Brown said the Scottish Prison Service has advised there were five transgender women located in the women’s estate as at January 21 this year.
Mason then questioned the practice on the grounds of safety.
He said: “The Scottish Prison service would not give me that information when I asked in September."
The MSP then added: “I do wonder, does the Cabinet Secretary not think that female offenders, many of whom have suffered violence and sexual assault previously, should be entitled to a single sex prison.”
Brown said the Scottish Prison Service practice was in common with the rest of the UK and added: “It seeks to make sure that the rights and the safety of everyone in prison is looked at when these issues are taken into account. And I think they do that in a very structured way and a very sensitive way.”
Green MSP Maggie Chapman took issue with Mason’s question.
She said: “I must say there is a very shrill, anti-trans dog whistle in John Mason’s question, which is deeply troubling especially with the rise in transphobic hate crimes we have seen reported.”
She then asked: “What systems and protections are in place to deal with violence in prisons regardless of who the perpetrator is?”