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Joanna Cherry’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe show to go ahead with extra checks over safety fears

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Joanna Cherry's Edinburgh Festival Fringe show to go ahead with extra checks over safety fears

Extra security checks such as bag searches and metal detectors will be in place at the Edinburgh Fringe show of SNP MP Joanna Cherry over safety fears.

There will also be no alcohol served at the venue while the show is going on.

The MP for Edinburgh West is due to speak at The Stand on Thursday in an event that was initially cancelled after some members of staff refused to work it, citing opposition to her “gender critical” views.

Ms Cherry has been a vocal critic of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill – which aims to simplify the process for people to change gender in the eyes of the law – that passed through the Scottish Parliament late last year.

The bill, which will see the Scottish and UK governments battle it out in court, has been a contentious issue with critics arguing it undermines women’s rights and single-sex spaces.

Following criticism over its cancellation of her show, The Stand later apologised to Ms Cherry and performed a U-turn, saying its initial decision was “unfair and constituted unlawful discrimination” against the SNP MP.

Ms Cherry had threatened the venue with legal action, claiming she was removed from the billing as a result of “being a lesbian with gender critical views”.

On Sunday, after the heightened security measures were reported in The Herald, Ms Cherry tweeted: “Today’s Herald reveals the price of free speech in modern Scotland.

“It’s a disgrace that any public speaker should face threats to personal safety on account of their sexuality and feminist beliefs. Those responsible should hang their heads in shame.”

A statement from The Stand said: “Following an external risk assessment and in consultation with Police Scotland, The Stand will employ extra measures to ensure the safety of everyone involved with staging the show and members of the audience.

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“Unfortunately, to allow extra bag searches to take place on entrance to the theatre, we have had to close our bar for the hour-long duration of the event which starts at 12 noon on Thursday.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers but clearly we can’t compromise on safety for this or any other show.”

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was passed by MSPs just before Christmas.

It then became a constitutional dispute in January when the UK government took the unprecedented step of using section 35 of the Scotland Act to block the bill from receiving royal assent and becoming law.

The Scottish government then lodged a petition for a judicial review over Westminster’s veto of the bill, setting the stage for a prolonged legal battle.

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