Joanna Cherry says SNP's new complaints officer 'targeted me' on Twitter

A new appointment to the position of SNP complaints officer has come under attack for his previous tweets which accused MP Joanna Cherry of “transphobia”.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry
SNP MP Joanna Cherry

Ricky Taylor announced he was set to take up the role on Twitter but his appointment was immediately questioned by Ms Cherry and other SNP, and former SNP members, who believe he is unsuited to the task given his historical social media posts.

His appointment was revealed as a former SNP member from Stirling, Grant Karte, was sentenced to a community payback order which will see him placed under supervision for 15 months and carrying out 160 hours of unpaid work in the community, after he sent threatening messages to Ms Cherry in the wake of her sacking from the Westminster SNP front bench.

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Mr Taylor said he was “delighted” to be “joining the wonderful team” at SNP headquarters as the new complaints officer. He added: “It’s not going to be the easiest job but I’m definitely up for the challenge of making sure the party is a welcoming and safe place for all.”

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However Ms Cherry, who has accused her party of offering her no support after Mr Karte’s messages, questioned the vetting process which led to Mr Taylor’s appointment.

She shared screenshots of his previous tweets which accused her of "open transphobia”, and when challenged for evidence, said she needed to stop “creating a toxic environment within the SNP and pulling the defamation card anytime you’re challenged on your views.”

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Ms Cherry said “The new SNP complaints officer Ricky Taylor has a history of targeting me and calling me transphobic for my lawful gender critical views. How did he pass vetting?”

Other past tweets by Mr Taylor also resurfaced in which he accused the MP of narcissistic behaviour and bullying and of “using the code of conduct card when someone stands up to her”.

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Former SNP MSP and government minister, Alex Neil, backed Ms Cherry and said: “This is not a good appointment and should be rescinded with immediate effect.”

The SNP is deeply split over the party’s proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act, with many of its younger members urging the changes which would allow transgender people to self-identify such as removing medical diagnoses of dysphoria. Others, including Ms Cherry, feel the reforms would undermine women’s rights.

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Earlier this year many women members quit to join Alex Salmond's Alba Party, claiming their complaints about how they were treated within the party, because they held gender critical views, had been ignored.

Other issues with the party’s complaints process were highlighted by the Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of harassment allegations against Alex Salmond, as well as its handling of an investigation after an SNP staff member accused two of the party’s MPs of sexual harassment.

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An SNP spokesman said “The party’s new complaints officer will play an important administrative role at headquarters, and we have full confidence in his abilities. Decisions on complaints remain with the National Secretary.”

Mr Taylor was asked for comment, and on Twitter thanked those who had sent him messages of support. He added: “I’m perfectly fine and even more determined and excited to get on with the job.”

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