Joanna Cherry KC MP

Lawyer and politician

Joanna Cherry QC

Joanna Cherry KC has been MP for Edinburgh South West since May 2015. She is the deputy chair of the influential Joint House of Lords and Commons Committee on Human Rights, and vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Rule of Law. In 2019 she was the lead litigant in the case of Cherry and Others v Advocate General for Scotland in which the prorogation of parliament was ruled unlawful by the UK Supreme Court. In 2018 she was one of six cross-party petitioners in the successful case before the EU Court of Justice which established that Article 50 could be unilaterally revoked.

Prior to her election, she had been in practice as an advocate at the Scottish Bar for 20 years. She held the offices of Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government and Advocate Depute and was one of the first specialist sex crimes prosecutors in the Scottish Crown Office’s pioneering National Sex Crimes Unit. She took silk in 2009. From 2015 to 2021 she served as the SNP spokesperson on justice and home affairs.

When relegated to the backbenches for her gender-critical views she resumed legal practice on a limited basis to defend other women unfairly discriminated against for their beliefs. She co-authored the textbook Mental Health and Scots Law in Practice (W Green, December 2014).

“Sex matters to me as a feminist and a lesbian. It’s the foundation of our oppression as women and, without sex, as JK Rowling famously said, there can be no same-sex attraction.”