Former Advocate General: ‘UK Govt must block Holyrood’s sex-swap law’

A former Advocate General for Scotland has said Westminster should block the Scottish Government’s gender self-ID Bill because of its impact on the rest of the UK.

Writing in the foreword of a report by influential think-tank Policy Exchange, The Rt Hon the Lord Keen of Elie PC KC highlighted concerns that the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill cuts across the Equality Act 2010 which “clearly addresses issues reserved to the UK Government and which operates throughout the UK”.

On 22 December last year, MSPs voted in favour of the new law which would allow 16-year-olds to change their legal sex by self-declaration without a medical diagnosis.

‘Constitutionally improper’

Lord Keen stated: “It would not only be impractical but constitutionally improper for the UK Government to permit a devolved legislature to enact a provision that had a material impact upon the operation of the law throughout the United Kingdom.”

He expressed hope that the Policy Exchange report will be noticed by the UK Government — which could prevent the Bill from being submitted for Royal Assent — and by the Scottish Government which has “pressed this legislation in the face of real and widespread concerns about its impact on the law of the United Kingdom”.

The think-tank’s report, written by Senior Fellow Michael Foran, also raised concerns that the law would “change the operation of the law in relation to single-sex services, making it potentially more difficult for women-only spaces to exclude biological males”.

In regard to single-sex schools, the report warned that boys between 16 and 18 years old will now be able to change their legal sex and “gain the right not to be excluded” from girls’ schools in the UK.


The UK Government has reported that it has “concerns” over the Bill but has not announced if it will take action. It is currently updating the list of countries which meet its standards for recognition of legal ‘sex swaps’ which take place abroad.

A Scottish Government spokesman warned: “Any attempt by the UK Government to undermine the democratic will of the Scottish Parliament will be vigorously contested by the Scottish Government.

“We have always been clear that the Bill does not impact on the Equality Act, and the Bill as passed puts that position beyond doubt.”


Earlier this month, one of the SNP’s longest serving MPs said that Holyrood’s gender self-ID Bill risks women’s safety and should be axed.

Angus MacNeil, who has nearly twenty years’ Commons experience, fears “bad-faith actors” could exploit the law to gain access to women’s safe spaces.

Cross party colleagues agree, with Conservative MP Miriam Cates, the DUP’s Carla Lockhart, and Labour’s Rosie Duffield warning that the legislation lacks “adequate safeguards” to protect women and changes UK as well as Scottish law.

Also see:


SNP minister likens ‘sex swaps’ law to fighting apartheid

‘Trans propaganda helped destroy my life’ says detransitioning US Navy SEAL

Scotland: MSPs vote to approve legal sex-swaps for kids

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