ore than four in 10 voters in Scotland think First Minister Nicola Sturgeon should resign immediately, according to a new poll carried out amid controversy over gender recognition reforms.
The Panelbase survey for the Sunday Times found that 42% of respondents thought she should stand down now, while 45% said she should remain as First Minister at until at least the next Holyrood election, and 13% didn’t know.
The poll also found that the majority of those who expressed a view had safety concerns around the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, which was passed by MSPs in December and blocked by the UK Government.
The reforms would allow trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) without the need for a medical diagnosis.
The Bill would also allow 16 and 17-year-olds to apply for a GRC for the first time, and reduce the amount of time a person has to live in their acquired gender before they can be granted the document.
Of those who expressed a view, more than three-quarters (76%) said they think the Scottish Government’s plans to change the law on gender recognition would pose a safety risk in women-only spaces, such as changing rooms, hospital wards and prisons.
Just under a quarter (24%) disagreed.
Ms Sturgeon has said she intends to challenge the UK Government’s use of Section 35 to block the Gender Recognition Reform Bill from becoming law.
The survey, among 1,415 voters in Scotland, was carried out in the past week as the Scottish Prison Service published its review on the management of transgender prisoners in the wake of the Isla Bryson case.
Transgender prisoner Bryson, who was convicted last month of raping two women while still a man known as Adam Graham, was initially housed in an all-female prison before being moved to the male estate.
The poll also found that 15% of those who voted SNP at the last Westminster election said they wanted Ms Sturgeon to resign, as did almost one in five (19%) people who backed independence in the referendum in 2014.
Just over three-quarters (76%) of SNP voters and 72% of Yes voters said they wanted her to remain.
The poll found that finance secretary Kate Forbes, who is on maternity leave, was the most popular choice to succeed Ms Sturgeon, with 7% of respondents backing her.