Rishi Sunak confirms UK may block Scotland’s gender recognition bill | Transgender | Daily News Byte


Rishi Sunak has waded into the row over Scotland’s gender recognition bill, insisting it was “entirely reasonable” to assess its potential impact on women.

The Prime Minister confirmed on Friday that the UK government is considering blocking new legislation, which would make it easier for trans people to legally change their gender.

Westminster officials now have 28 days to decide whether to deploy the “nuclear option” to bar the bill from going to royal assent, after Scotland on Thursday became the first part of the UK to introduce a self-identification system.

The UK’s Scottish Secretary, Alastair Jack, said he could invoke section 35 of the Scotland Act, which in effect gives him a veto over laws he believes affect constitutionally reserved matters – a decision that has led to a bitter constitutional clash. can set the stage. .

While gender recognition is devolved to Holyrood, equality legislation – with which the new law will interact – is reserved for Westminster.

Speaking on Friday during a visit to a homeless shelter in London, Sunak said: “A lot of people in Scotland are concerned about this new bill, the impact it will have on the safety of women and children.

“So I think it’s entirely reasonable for the UK government to take a look at it, understand what the implications are for the safety of women and children in the rest of the UK, and then decide what the appropriate course of action is.”

In a statement overnight, UK Equality Minister Cammy Badenoch said, Repeated her concerns She said the bill was passed despite significant opposition from sections of the SNP and some equality groups. Badenoch said she “shared their concerns over the impact of this bill on the operation of the Equality Act, which is designed to protect all UK citizens”.

Shona Robison, Scotland’s social justice secretary, said any move to block the bill, arguing it conflicts with the Equality Act, is likely to end in a court battle, saying the Scottish government will push back hard.

“The bill passed is fully in a legislative capacity and, of course, supported by an overwhelming majority with support from all parties,” she told BBC Radio Scotland. “I think any attempt by the UK Government to undermine the democratic will of the Scottish Parliament will be vigorously opposed by the Scottish Government.”

The Scottish Government is understood to be waiting for the dust to settle after multiple threats to intervene in the run-up to the bill. He believes ministers in Westminster will need to be very confident in their legal position to activate Article 35, which has never been used in the history of the Scottish Parliament.

Helena Kennedy, a Scottish KC and Labor peer, told the BBC’s Today program that she believed it would be “absolute folly” to block the bill. “The idea that the Scottish Parliament should be overridden by Westminster because the Conservative Party doesn’t like this would be really disruptive to the unity of the United Kingdom,” she said.

After the recent Supreme Court ruling that the Scottish Parliament does not legally have the power to hold a second independence referendum, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has repeatedly described Sunac’s government as “democracy deniers”, likely to be encouraged by Westminster. The challenge to making Holyrood law.

While any court battle centers on constitutional issues, the broader argument involves differences in the culture war, where trans rights have become a key battleground.

Badenoch is an enthusiastic participant in the culture war. Sunak has generally remained outspoken, although in the Conservative Party leadership contest over the summer he regularly pledged to protect “our women” from supposedly “woke” values.

The Scottish Government called it a “historic day for equality” after the vote, with MSPs strongly backing plans aimed at making it easier and less intrusive for individuals to legally change their gender, and expanding the streamlined system for obtaining gender. Certificate of Recognition (GRC) for 16- and 17-year-olds.

The 86-39 vote, which saw the biggest SNP backbench revolt in the party’s 15 years in power and was led by demonstrations in the public gallery, followed three days of intense and sometimes emotional debate at Holyrood.


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