Sunak set to block key SNP bill in knockout blow for Sturgeon

PMQs: Blackford slams Sunak for ‘denying Scotland democracy’

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Rishi Sunak is poised to deliver a knockout blow to Nicola Sturgeon, as the Prime Minister appears to be weighing up whether or not to block the SNP’s Gender Recognition Bill. When asked whether the UK Government will block the Bill, Mr Sunak said the Government is “taking advice on the impact of that law” and considering “how best to proceed”. He said the UK Government will “set out the next steps in due course”.

Mr Sunak said that this is “completely standard practice”.

The aim of the legislation is to make it easier for trans people to change their legal gender and get a gender recognition certificate (GRC), which is seen as an integral part of trans inclusion.

But critics say the law undermines sexual equality and poses a risk to women’s safety.

The Prime Minister’s threat to Ms Sturgeon’s act would be particularly tricky for the First Minister, who has faced a number of knockbacks in recent weeks.

The Scottish Government is under increasing pressure as a result of its handling of the crisis in the NHS, which is said to be on the brink of collapse.

She has also faced a number of protests in recent weeks, some of which have been over the Gender Recognition Bill.

Yesterday, the Scottish parliament was suspended after anti-Sturgeon protesters disrupted the session during First Minister’s Questions.

Shouting could be heard from the public gallery, with protesters directing concerns at the First Minister.

And last year, the SNP was hit by a major blow after the Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish Government does not have the relevant legal powers to hold a second referendum on independence without Westminster approval, setting back the party’s campaign for independence.

Asked by Good Morning Scotland whether the Government would block Ms Sturgeon’s Gender Recognition Bill, the Prime Minister said: “Obviously it’s a sensitive area.

“Let me really clear – as is completely standard practice, when the Scottish Parliament passes a law, it’s completely normal for the UK govt to take advice on the impact of that law across the UK and then consider how best to proceed.

 

“That’s the process that’s underway at the moment. That’s entirely reasonable and standard.”

When pressed on the issue, Mr Sunak added: “The process here is one which is entirely standard.

“I think it’s reasonable, where the Scottish parliament is passing a law, I think it’s reasonable for the UK Government to take advice on the impact of that law across the UK and then decide on the best course of action.

“The Government is waiting to receive final advice and then we’ll set out the next steps in due course.”

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