British government blocks gender recognition law

The Scottish government has announced that it will take legal action against the UK government’s attempts to block its gender recognition reform bill. 

The legislation, which would enable trans people in Scotland to self-declare their own gender, was rejected by Westminster using Section 35 of the Scotland Act. 

In response, the Scottish government plans to file a petition for a judicial review of the use of Section 35, arguing that it poses a threat to the ability of the Scottish parliament to legislate on devolved matters. 

The Scottish social justice secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville, stated that the UK government had not given any prior warning of its plans to block the bill nor requested any amendments during its passage through parliament. She added that the Scottish government had sought to collaborate with Westminster on potential changes to the bill but had been refused. 

The Scottish government hopes that the legal challenge will provide clarity on the interpretation and scope of Section 35 and its impact on devolution.

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