Nicola Sturgeon’s poise in public appears to have vanished. The First Minister got into all sorts of difficulties when holding a press conference today in Scotland.   

In a remarkable exchange she locked horns with the (Glasgow) Herald’s Tom Gordon over whether she believed the rapist Adam Graham (now known as Isla Bryson) is a woman.

Sturgeon initially refers to Bryson as “her” while fielding questions, before quickly switching to “person”. Pressed on why she had said “her”, Sturgeon stammered that she was “trying to rationally deal with the issues that arise here,” rather than focusing on “headline-generating” details.

Gordon suggested it was a Freudian slip, and tried again: “We have been asking you for days: do you regard Isla Bryson as a woman?”

“She regards herself as a woman,” says Sturgeon, squirming. “I regard the individual as a rapist. What matters in the context of the prison service is that the individual is convicted of rape.”

Is Sturgeon now advocating segregation in Scottish prisons by the crime committed, rather than by gender? This seems to be the suggestion. Or her position on trans is so confused as to be meaningless. Or both.

Bryson, who identifies as a woman but has not legally changed gender, was transferred from a women’s prison to a men’s prison after a fierce public outcry last month. Humiliatingly, Sturgeon was forced to back the decision, despite voting down an amendment to her flagship gender bill that would have banned sex offenders from changing gender through self-ID. Sturgeon’s latest floundering raises further questions about how her trans policy is consistent with Bryson being imprisoned in a male jail.

With every fresh slip-up, pressure is mounting on the embattled First Minister. Usually so calculating and legalistic, Sturgeon is turning into a hapless explorer reaching into quicksand to free a sinking leg, only for her arms to get stuck too.

The First Minister also faced questions about when she knew her husband had loaned the Scottish National Party, which he runs and she leads, more than £100k when it needed help with cash flow.

Sturgeon flapped a bit and gave an evasive answer. These were her husband’s resources and it was unclear when she knew.

What a busy couple they must be, passing like ships in the night to such an extent that they did not discuss at the breakfast table lending £100k to his employer which is led by her. Sounds… odd.

Write to us with your comments to be considered for publication at