Scottish parliament investigating MSP who filmed ‘flasher’ protest during gender bill debate

Woman lifting her skirt

Scottish parliamentary authorities are investigating the MSP who filmed a protester flashing a public wig in Holyrood during the final Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) bill debate.

A Scottish parliament spokesperson told The National that parliamentary authorities are “examining the apparent filming from the Chamber floor” on 22 December, the day the bill was passed. 

The presiding officer is “extremely concerned” that footage of the incident – which saw comedian and “pelvic physiotherapist” Elaine Miller lift her skirt in the chamber to protest trans rights reform – was widely shared on social media. 

“MSPs must conduct themselves with courtesy and respect at all times and longstanding guidance on conduct prohibits MSPs from taking photos or recording videos in the chamber,” the spokesperson added. 

“The presiding officer is extremely concerned that footage showing an incident which took place after parliamentary proceedings had been suspended to deal with disruption in the gallery has been shared widely.”

'Gender critical' protester flashes pubic wig in Scottish parliament after trans rights bill passed
Protester flashes pubic wig in Scottish parliament. (Ken Jack/Getty Images)

Scottish National Party MSP Siobhian Brown accused Douglas Lumsden, a Conservative MSP for North East Scotland, of having breached Holyrood’s rules by filming the protest. 

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“I am pretty positive it is against Standing Orders for MSPs to ‘video’ the public in the parliamentary gallery and then to pass on to press?” Brown wrote on Twitter. “I hope Douglas Lumsden MSP is also investigated as he sniggered away filming this.”

Lumsden apologised for “inadvertently breaching parliamentary guidance” by recording the event in a statement given to the Scottish Daily Express

“In what was a dramatic moment in the chamber that produced gasps all around, I reacted instinctively by reaching for my phone,” he said. “I apologise to the presiding officer for inadvertently breaching parliamentary guidance.”

Conservative MSP Douglas Lumsden wears a suit and tie while speaking during a parliamentary proceeding in Holyrood
Conservative MSP Douglas Lumsden was accused by Scottish National Party MSP Siobhian Brown of having breached Holyrood’s rules by filming the protest. (Getty)

Guidance published alongside the code of conduct for Scottish parliamentarians states digital devices shouldn’t be used to “take photographs, to record proceedings or to take telephone calls”. 

However, the parliament website said the additional material “does not form part of the code and is not enforceable”. 

After days of intense, long debate, Scotland’s parliament passed the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) bill on 22 December, which would remove barriers for trans people to gain legal gender recognition in the country. 

The bill is designed to make it easier for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate, with applications handled by the country’s registrar general rather than a UK-wide panel. 

It also does away with the requirement for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, lowers the minimum age of applicants from 18 to 16 and dropped the years-long wait to just a couple of months. 

However the UK government has indicated it could seek to block the bill via a never-before-used clause of the Scotland Act.

Miller’s protest was captured by press photographers in the chamber during the vote and was widely shared on social media. Scottish police have launched a probe into the incident, The Courier reported. 

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