Scottish transgender bill could be blocked by Westminster
Westminster may intervene on Scottish Government plans to overhaul gender recognition rules, the attorney-general has indicated.
Suella Braverman MP, the chief legal adviser to the UK Government, indicated her opposition to the proposed Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill in a weekend interview.
The legislation would introduce a system of self-identification, allowing people to self-declare their gender without the need for medical diagnosis. In order to gain new identity documents, applicants will be required to make a legally-binding declaration stating that they intend to live permanently in their acquired gender, after having spent three months living as that gender. False declarations carry a penalty of up to two years imprisonment.
The Scottish Government says the move will produce a fairer system for transgender people without impinging on women's rights, though concerns remain from some women's groups and other organisations, including the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Now Braverman, the Conservative MP for Fareham, has said the move would create a "two-tier system within the United Kingdom", stating: "I can't forsee how that is workable, whereby north of the border you may be able to self-identify but a bit south of the border that might not be recognised.
"What effects does that have on our public institutions, our state?
"It is incredibly worrying and causes a huge amount of uncertainty."
Braverman told The Sunday Telegraph: "I think there are incredibly serious implications of what the Scottish Government is proposing and I will be considering whether there are constitutional issues."
Her comments come after Sir Bernard Jenkin, chair of Westminster's liaison committee, called for the UK Government to "challenge the Scottish Parliament" because "it intends to endow new controversial rights on all UK citizens which have not been approved by this parliament".
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the bill will go through the "full legislative process with all the normal parliamentary scrutiny".
Meanwhile, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie, a government minister, said of the UK Government: "They don't believe in Scotland's right to make decisions, even in devolved areas."