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Two SNP Leadership Contenders Refers J.K. Rowling Referred to as a “National Treasure”

Kate Forbes and Ash Regan describe author, who opposed Nicola Sturgeon’s gender recognition reforms, as ‘brave’ in TV debate

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UNITED KINGDOM: Two of the candidates vying to be the next leader of the Scottish National Party have described author JK Rowling as a “national treasure” despite her branding their predecessor Nicola Sturgeon a “destroyer of women’s rights”.

Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter books and often disagrees with Sturgeon’s gender recognition changes, was called “brave” by Kate Forbes and Ash Regan, who are running with Humza Yousaf to be the next first minister, during a Sky News leadership debate on Monday night.

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Forbes, who is on maternity leave from her position as finance secretary, was asked if she differed with Rowling on transgender rights. Forbes responded, “No, I don’t disagree with her.”

The Scottish government’s health secretary, Yousaf, responded that the author was “amazing in terms of the books she’s written, but I do disagree with her vehemently on the issue of transgender rights” when asked by presenter Beth Rigby if she was a national treasure.

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Most people surveyed prior to the debate felt that Sturgeon, who abruptly declared her resignation last month after eight years, would make the best first minister out of the three candidates. However, the poll also revealed that only 26% of voters backed the gender recognition reforms, while 56% said they opposed them “from what they had seen and heard about them”.

Should she be elected, the future of the SNP’s coalition government with the Scottish Greens is seriously questioned, as noted in Forbes’ answer in particular. Both co-leaders, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, have expressed grave worries about Forbes’ positions on other issues, including equal marriage and abortion, and have harshly criticized Rowling’s position.

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Forbes and Yousaf, who are seen as the frontrunners in a race that is too close to call, took jabs at each other about what Sky’s polling showed about how appealing they were to different groups of voters. This was the first time the candidates talked on TV since voting started on Monday morning. 

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