Sunak says it is 'reasonable' for UK Government to look at gender Bill

Concerns have been raised over the implications of the Bill, which passed at Holyrood on Thursday.

Rishi Sunak says it is ‘reasonable’ for UK Government to look at Scotland’s gender recognition reform Bill Flickr

Rishi Sunak has said it is “completely reasonable” for the UK Government to look at potentially blocking gender recognition reforms passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Prime Minister indicated his government would look at the consequences of the legislation before deciding on any course of action.

MSPs on Thursday voted to approve the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill by a margin of 89 to 39.

It seeks to simplify the process for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certifcate.

However, concerns have been raised over the Bill, which critics say could risk the safety of women and girls.

After the Bill was passed at stage three, it will now require Royal Assent before it becomes law.

But, Scottish secretary Alister Jack has suggested that the Government could use a Section 35 order to stop it from being formally ratified.

Under the Scotland Act 1998, the UK Government has the power to intervene in certain cases if they believe that legislation passed at Holyrood could either modify the law as it applies to reserved matters, or if it contains provisions that could be considered “incompatible” with international obligations, or in the interests of defence or national security.

Scotland’s social justice secretary Shona Robison has insisted that any attempt by the UK Government to try and halt the legislation would be “vigorously contested” by the Scottish Government.

Speaking during a visit to a homeless shelter in London on Friday, Prime Minister Sunak hinted that his government could look to act.

“Lots of people have got concerns about this new Bill in Scotland, about the impact it will have on women’s and children’s safety,” said Sunak.

“So I think it is completely reasonable for the UK Government to have a look at it, understand what the consequences are for women and children’s safety in the rest of the UK, and then decide on what the appropriate course of action is.”

The UK’s minister for women and equalities, Kemi Badenoch, had earlier said that the UK Government was looking at “provisions that can prompt reconsideration” of the reforms passed by Holyrood.

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