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by Staff reporter
23 December 2022
Gender reform: Tory peer Lord Garnier says SNP 'looking for things to have rows about with the UK'

The legislation was passed at Holyrood yesterday | Credit: Alamy

Gender reform: Tory peer Lord Garnier says SNP 'looking for things to have rows about with the UK'

Tory peer and former solicitor general Edward Garnier has suggested the SNP “is looking for things to have rows about with the United Kingdom” following the passing of gender reform.

MSPs yesterday passed the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill which will make it easier for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate.

Shortly after the vote, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the UK Government had “concerns” about the proposed legislation and could seek to block it from receiving royal assent.

Meanwhile, Cabinet minister Kemi Badenoch has said the UK Government is “looking at provisions” which can help address outstanding concerns about the implications for women and girls.

Speaking on the Today programme, Lord Garnier, who was solicitor general under Prime Minister David Cameron, said the UK Government had 28 days to respond to the Holyrood bill under the provisions of the Scotland Act.  

He said: “I think they should move quite carefully, but they will also need to move quite quickly. Under section 35 of the Scotland Act, they’ve got 28 days to do something about it.

“There is a number of problems which both lead to moral and social questions and medical questions, but also constitutional and political questions. These are all difficult problems.

“Nobody wants to mistreat or do harm to people who suffer from gender dysphoria, but equally we don’t want two sets of regimes applying in the United Kingdom.”

Lord Garnier said the passing of the legislation was an attempt by the SNP to show it remained on the “warpath” over the constitution.

He added: “Following the Supreme Court decision about the Scottish referendum in which, for example, the Supreme Court rejected the suggestion that Scotland was an oppressed and colonial country, the leadership is looking for things to have rows about with the United Kingdom in order to demonstrate the SNP is still on the warpath as far as total separation is concerned.”

MSPs yesterday voted 86 to 39 in favour of the bill following two days of debate that saw parliament sit late into the night for MSPs to work their way through 154 amendments.

There were nine SNP rebels who voted against the party whip and against the bill.

One of the main functions of the reform is to make it easier for trans people to obtain a GRC by self-identifying in their chosen gender, something that is not allowed under UK law, which requires a panel of legal and medical professionals to verify whether an applicant is eligible for a certificate or not.

The legislation was backed in the parliament by Labour, the Lib Dems and the Scottish Greens.

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