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UK government blocks Scotland’s gender reform bill in unprecedented move

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The UK government has blocked Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill from getting Royal Assent. On Monday (16 January), Scotland Secretary Alister Jack confirmed that he will enact a section 35 order at Westminster tomorrow to prevent the legislation from being sent to King Charles.

Downing Street can stop legislation from Holyrood receiving Royal Assent if they believe it will have – as Jack said in his statement – an “adverse” impact on UK law.

This is the first time in 25 years since devolution that section 35 has been used to block a piece of Holyrood legislation, and is expected to cause a major constitutional row.

While Jack said that trans people who are “going through the process to change their sex deserve our respect, support and understanding,” he said the decision was made “about the legislation’s consequences for the operation of GB-wide equalities protections and other reserved matters.” “I have not taken this decision lightly.

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