Sturgeon 'misspoke' when suggesting review of age laws for alcohol

During an interview, the First Minister said she thought it was 'right to look at' whether you should be allowed to 'drink alcohol in a pub' at 16.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon clarifies view on review of law to allow 16-year-olds to drink in pubs Scottish Government

Nicola Sturgeon has clarified she does not favour a review of the law prohibiting 16-year-olds in Scotland from drinking alcohol in pubs.

The First Minister sought to make her views clear following an interview in which she said: “I think over time, I think it is right to look at why can’t a 16-year-old drink alcohol in a pub”.

Sturgeon said it was “bad phrasing” on her part and that “this is not what I meant”.

It comes after the UK Government blocked Scottish gender recognition reforms that would lower the age at which a person can change their legal sex.

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill reduces the minimum age a person can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate from 18 to 16.

The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg asked the First Minister why she believed 16 was old enough to change one’s gender but not drive a car or buy a pint in the pub.

“This was bad phrasing on my part – so not having a go at the BBC – but this is not what I meant,” Sturgeon tweeted.

“I meant that there are reasons why you can do some things at 16 and not others. I do not favour a review of the current age rules on alcohol.”

In Scotland, it is an offence for someone under 18 to buy or attempt to buy alcohol either for themselves or another person.

It is also an offence for under 18s to consume alcoholic drinks on licensed premises.

However, there is an exception meaning 16 and 17-year-olds can drink beer, wine, cider or perry bought by an adult with a meal – but this is subject to the manager’s discretion.

There is no licensing restriction on the age that a young person can consume alcohol at home but an adult could face prosecution on grounds of child cruelty for allowing a child in their care to do so.

Hundreds of people gathered in Glasgow on Saturday in protest against the UK Government’s decision to block the gender recognition reforms.

The Rally for Trans Equality was held on the steps of the Royal Concert Hall at the top of Buchanan Street forming a large mass of campaigners.

On Tuesday, the UK Government announced it would block legislation passed at Holyrood making it easier for people to change their legally recognised gender.

Invoking the Section 35 order, Scottish secretary Alister Jack said he was “concerned the legislation would have an adverse impact on the operation of Great Britain-wide equalities legislation”.

Sturgeon branded the move a “full frontal attack on [Scottish] democracy,” adding the Scottish Government would “defend the legislation and stand up for Scotland’s Parliament”.

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