ALBA Depute Leader, Kenny MacAskill MP on Westminster's Section 35 Order

The constitutional row between the UK Tories and Holyrood’s SNP/Green Government is a contrived spat which does neither party any credit. The legislation’s flawed and even dangerous in parts. It needs to be amended. There are many aspects though that are not only acceptable but required. The issues that cause the controversy and those, in particular that, threaten or conflict with other existing rights need reviewed. But the place for that is the courts not a political stooshy.

Holyrood having been challenged previously on issues with cross-border implications such as Children’s Rights and where there was clear conflict with reserved Equalities laws knew a problem was looming. Having fast-tracked the referendum bill to the Supreme Court there was no reason not to do so here.

Proceeding regardless was foolhardy. Had it not been blocked by the Tories in Westminster it was going to be challenged anyway. If the SNP/Greens wanted to mobilise opinion against Westminster interference in Scottish democracy then the referendum was the issue. Failing to have pushed that let down the independence movement and if they think they can rally the massed ranks for this they’re delusional.

But the idea that the Tories are some champions of women’s and children’s rights is absurd. It’s doubtful Alistair Jack even knew what gender reform was until all this came about. After all, while Kemi Badenoch has a longstanding opposition to “wokeism”, Jack and many others in the Tory party, including some like Penny Mordaunt, either supported or at best slept through it.

Recent statistics I’ve written about relating to the effect of gender self-ID which is seeing men in the women’s prison estate, including some who are convicted sex offenders, is happening south of the border. Get their own house in order first might be a better priority for the Tories at Westminster.

The solution shouldn’t be an outright political rejection but a referral to the courts. This shouldn’t be a constitutional issue but a social one. It was a mess created in Holyrood, that cannot be sorted by Westminster diktat. It firstly requires legal clarity and then legislative amendment but in Holyrood. The losers at the moment are those genuine transgender people who are simply a political football.

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