Humza Yousaf will challenge Westminster’s veto on ‘sex-swap’ Bill

The Scottish Government has announced that it will challenge Westminster’s decision to block its ‘sex-swap’ Bill in court.

In January, the UK Government vetoed Holyrood’s gender self-ID Bill on constitutional grounds, given its impact on wider equalities legislation.

Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had promised to fight Westminster over it before she resigned, and her successor Humza Yousaf has now decided to pick up where she left off.

Judicial review

Yousaf branded the UK Government’s order a “power grab” last month, and claimed Westminster did not have “any right to use that Section 35 power, given that the majority of Holyrood, of course, backed the GRR Bill”.

SNP Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Sommerville has now confirmed that Holyrood will “lodge a petition for a judicial review” of the Secretary of State for Scotland’s decision.

Rishi Sunak defended his Government’s position, saying “it was a decision that we made after taking very careful and considered advice.”

The Prime Minister added Westminster had “concerns about how Scotland’s changes to the gender recognition act would interact with reserved powers, about the operation of the Equalities Act, the protection of women elsewhere in the UK as well.”

‘Constitutionally improper’

Former Supreme Court judge, Lord Hope, told BBC Scotland in January that it would be a “mistake” for the Scottish Government to go to court. He said it was likely a court would decide that Scottish Secretary Alister Jack had “acted reasonably” in blocking the reforms.

Also in January, The Rt Hon the Lord Keen of Elie PC KC, a former Advocate General for Scotland, had previously urged Downing Street to block Holyrood’s gender self-ID Bill because of its impact on the rest of the UK.

He said the legislation cut across the Equality Act 2010 and “clearly addresses issues reserved to the UK Government”.

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.”

Also see:


Humza Yousaf: ‘I will push through Scotland’s vetoed sex-swap Bill’

UK Govt set to derail Holyrood ‘sex-swap’ law

Male prisoners self-identifying as women to be barred from female jails

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