UK Government to block Scottish gender bill

The UK government is to block a controversial Scottish bill designed to make it easier for people to legally change their gender.

Rishi Sunak’s administration said it fears the changes will have an impact on equality laws across the UK.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had condemned any such move as an “outrage”.

The Scottish government is likely to mount a legal challenge in response.

It is the first time ministers have used what is known as a Section 35 order, which stops a Scottish bill from becoming law.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said that those going through the process to change their legal sex “deserve our respect, support and understanding”.

He insisted his decision was “about the legislation’s consequences for the operation of GB-wide equalities protections and other reserved matters”.

He added: “I have not taken this decision lightly. The Bill would have a significant impact on, amongst other things, GB-wide equalities matters in Scotland, England and Wales. I have concluded, therefore, that this is the necessary and correct course of action.

“If the Scottish Government chooses to bring an amended Bill back for reconsideration in the Scottish Parliament, I hope we can work together to find a constructive way forward that both respects devolution and the operation of UK Parliament legislation.”

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