PATRICK Harvie stood in solidarity with trans women at a protest on the final day of the cycling world championships.

The Glasgow MSP, who also serves as Active Travel Minister in the Scottish Government, was criticised in some corners after he took part in a protest ride with the charity LEAP Sports Scotland, which coincided with the elite women’s road race.

Leap, which stands for “leadership, equality and active participation” for LGBT people in sports, organised the protest ride after the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) banned trans women from competing in female sporting events.

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On Facebook, the charity wrote: “As the UCI World Championships draw to a close, join LEAP and partners for the ‘Solidarity Cycle’ following the UCI’s recent decision to ban trans women from the women’s category.

“This policy change is disproportionate, discriminatory and lacking in evidence.

“Cycling must be accessible to all and we invite you to join our Solidarity Cycle to show your support for trans people in cycling from grassroots to competition.”

Harvie was joined at the event by Bailie Elaine Gallagher, a Greens councillor in Glasgow Southside who is also a trans person.

Campaigners with the group held a flag which said “let trans women win” and a placard which said “trans people belong in sport”.

Gender-critical campaign group For Women Scotland criticised the messaging, writing: “The sign … says ‘Let trans women win’.

“Not enough that they are ‘included’, they are openly confirming what we all already knew, they want to take women's prizes.”

The comment was amplified by tennis star-turned-campaigner Martina Navratilova, who added: “Sure. Why not? I mean what else is there to take? Nothing.”

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For Women Scotland also took aim at Harvie specifically, writing: “It seems MSP and gov minister Patrick Harvie showed up to undermine women's sport and a prestigious competition in Glasgow, to shill for the rights of cheating men.”

Questions were raised about why the protest had targeted the women's elite road race and not the mens'. However, the UCI has not imposed any restrictions on the rights of trans men to enter men's competitions.

Speaking after the event, LEAP praised a “brilliant display of solidarity” from the activists who took part, and thanked speakers including Harvie and Gallagher.

And the Scottish Greens said in a statement that Harvie had been making the case for inclusivity at every level of cycling.

A spokesperson for the party said: “This solidarity ride, organised by LEAP Sports Scotland, was an opportunity to make the case that cycling at every level should be inclusive and for everyone.

“That's especially important as Scotland invests record amounts in everyday walking, wheeling and cycling and making sure that everyone can overcome the barriers – including social and cultural barriers – that hold people back from switching to active travel.”

The women's elite road race started at midday and was won just over four hours later by Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky. The LEAP protest started at 1pm and then ran for a similar time-scale.