Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay secures cross party support for buffer zones

Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay has secured the support of over 50 MSPs for her safe access zones bill.

Scottish Green MSP Gillian Mackay has secured the support of more than 50 MSPs from across all parties at Holyrood as she lodged her proposals for a members bill to bring in buffer zones outside hospitals and clinics providing abortion services. 

18 signatures were needed to bring forward legislation with that target smashed in under half an hour, and follows on from a consultation process that in itself received more than 12,000 responses.

She received the backing from five out six of Scotland’s party political leaders including First Minister Humza Yousaf, party-co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton.

Nine Tory MSPs alongside those from the SNP, Scottish Labour, Scottish Lib Dems and the Scottish Greens added their signatures, with others expected to follow over the next month. 

Ms Mackay said:

“I am massively grateful and humbled to have secured the backing of so many MSP so very quickly, not least the generous support of leaders from Scottish Labour, the Scottish Lib Dems, the SNP and my own party. 

“The scale and speed of support shown underlines the vital importance and the urgency of establishing buffer zones as soon as possible.

“I am so thankful to every MSP who has supported me, and to the First Minister who has backed me every step of the way.

“Nobody should have to face intimidation or harassment when they access healthcare, yet that is what we have seen outside hospitals and health services across Scotland. We need to end these disgraceful protests for good.

“This is a major and important step on the journey, and I am determined to see safe buffer zones become an everyday reality as quickly and effectively as possible.”

The documents have now been lodged with the Scottish Parliament’s Chamber Desk and will sit with officials for 30 days where Ms Mackay will then secure the right to formally introduce her bill.

MSPs will then consider and debate the proposals for Safe Access Zones before having a chance to vote them into legislation once the process has been completed.