Will Sunak veto the Gender Recognition Reform bill?

The image shows a document with the text \"Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill [AS PASSED]\" at the top, indicating that it may be legislation related to the legal recognition of gender in Scotland. The text \"VETOED\" is stamped across the document in large red letters, suggesting that the bill has been rejected or disapproved by an authoritative body or official with the power to veto legislation. The rest of the text on the document is partially obscured by the veto stamp, so the specific contents of the bill are not visible in this image.

Will Sunak veto the Gender Recognition Reform bill?

“Faith” as an imperative is a veto against science-in praxi, it means lies at any price.

Friedrich Nietzsche

After six years of delays, and despite the filibustering of the Tories. On the 22nd of December, the Gender Recognition Reform bill finally passed. But, within an hour of its passing, Alister Jack, had said Westminster would veto the bill.

How can Westminister veto the Scottish Parliament? Is this likely to happen? What would the outcome of this be?

I was interviewed live on Sky News when I found out about Alister Jack’s plan to veto the bill.

Can a “section 35 order” be used to veto the GRR (Gender Recognition Reform) Bill?

Section 35 of the Scotland Act 1998 allows the Secretary of State to tell the Presiding Officer not to submit the bill for Royal Assent, so it can’t become law. However, the Secretary of State can’t just do this for any bill they don’t like. The bill has to either be :

  • “incompatible with any international obligations or the interests of defence or national security”
  • “make modifications of the law as it applies to reserved matters and which the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds to believe would have an adverse effect on the operation of the law as it applies to reserved matters”

While the conservatives want to blame inflation on trans people. It’s unlikely he thinks the GRR is a threat to “national security”. I think it’s far more likely that he’s going to argue it would have an “adverse effect” on reserved matters.

If Westminster chooses to do so, this will likely fail. Shona Robison took great care to avoid endorsing any amendment that might be interpreted as touching on “reserved matters”.

The legislation itself just changes the way a person may apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate, something that already exists and has done so since the EU forced the UK government to adopt such legislation back in 2004.

Additionally, I think this will be counter-productive. The Tories have already been accused of riding “rough shot” over the democratic will of the people of Scotland. The more “nasty Westminister” links trans people and Scotland’s democratic right to self-determination. The more the pro-independence movement will become a progressive movement, and leave the reactionary “Blood and soil” nationalists behind.

We will know by the 19th of January if Westminster has chosen to attack the democratic will of the people of Scotland or not. Every party in the Scottish Parliament, except the Conservatives, committed to reforming the Gender Recognition Act at the last election. Whatever they decide reform of the Gender Recognition Act is coming to Scotland.

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