Joanna Cherry

Scottish politician and lawyer (born 1966)

Joanna Catherine Cherry KC (born 18 March 1966) is a Scottish politician and lawyer serving as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Edinburgh South West since 2015. A member of the Scottish National Party (SNP), she was the party's Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice in the House of Commons from 2015 to 2021.

Official portrait of Joanna Cherry KC MP (2019)

Quotes

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2017–2022

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  • We then went to a smaller town, Sant Andreu de la Barca, to a health centre, and when we arrived the Guardia Civil had just left. They had broken down the door of the health centre and attacked people with batons. There were a lot of older people crying ... We spoke to a local councillor who said that when the Guardia Civil came to take the ballot boxes, he asked them for a warrant, and they just pushed him out of the way.
  • In my view, it would be perfectly simple to have stronger safeguards in this Bill without causing any detriments to genuine trans people who wanted to get a gender recognition certificate.
    In holding this view, I’m not going against my party policy. The Scottish National Party has never voted for self-ID as a policy at conference and it wasn’t in our manifesto.
    What it did promise to do was make the process of gender recognition easier for trans people which I support. What I don’t support is opening it up to just anyone with minimal safeguards.
  • In my case, I was kicked off the SNP frontbench for speaking up for women’s rights and for lesbian rights.
    And I’ve also received rape and death threats, as is a matter of public record. I’ve had no public support from my political party, despite those rape and death threats.
    So, I think many parliamentarians are just trying to keep out of this debate because they’re afraid to speak up.

2023–present

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  • To many people, it will look like this convicted rapist has gamed the system in order to try and garner sympathy, and to end up in a women's prison. And I think a lot of people will be shocked by that.
    So I think we should be talking about these cases. And women in prison are very vulnerable. Many women in prison have themselves been abused, and have suffered injuries over the years. ... But the point about human rights is that they're universal, and they apply to everyone. So I'm very concerned about the safety of women prisoners, with whom a convicted rapist has been placed.
    And under Scots law, the crime of rape can only be committed by somebody with a penis, and that's a man. And I think we should call out what's happened here.
  • It should not be possible for venues or their staff to no-platform lesbians or feminists who believe that sex is an immutable biological fact just because of our sexuality or our beliefs. [...] That sort of discrimination is unlawful and I'm sure most people would agree it's not acceptable
  • [Advocating for the protection of free speech from "the heckler's veto"] The failure to do so and the actions of some political figures in fostering an intolerant and hateful climate where small groups of activists now decide who can speak and what can be discussed needs to be called out.
    What does it say about the Fringe and Edinburgh, the home of the enlightenment, when an elected Edinburgh politician can’t be asked questions on stage in the city they represent?
  • I was one of a number of members elected on a manifesto to deliver better transparency and scrutiny over the party's finances and governance.
    I'm sad to say we failed to do that, and it wasn't for the want of trying.
    I just regret it's come to this. I would like those who stood in the way of reform back in 2020-21 to reflect on what they've done.
  • I've always argued that the way to win a referendum was to persuade people who voted no in 2014 of the merits of our case.
    The SNP needs to discuss both how we convince people to the cause of independence and also how we actually win our independence.
    We need to put the sovereignty of the Scottish people back to the front and centre of our debate.
  • [Colleagues response to her participation in a LGB Alliance conference] They demanded I had the whip removed if I spoke at the conference and really whipped up an atmosphere, very unpleasant, and, to use someone else's words, toxic atmosphere against me within the Westminster group.
  • I have been very upset. I've sat in my office in Westminster on many occasions and cried because of the really awful atmosphere that I had to work in. I have no doubt that the hatred that is directed towards me as a lesbian and as a feminist is homophobic and lesbophobic.

About Joanna Cherry

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  • Cherry has repeatedly expressed her conviction that independence can only succeed when its adherents address the aspirations and fears of Scotland’s pro-UK majority. What needs to be done to reassure those who voted No in 2014 – or a substantial number of them – that there is something in the independence offer for them, too?
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