Badenoch slams Sturgeon over disappointing Gender Recognition Bill

War on woke: Kemi Badenoch throws down the gauntlet

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Women & Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch has slammed Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon amid “concerns” over the SNP’s “disappointing” Gender Recognition Bill. The legislation will end the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria before someone can obtain a gender recognition certificate. It will also allow children to make the change from the age of 16.

It passed through Scotland’s Parliament in Holyrood with the support of 86 MSPs.

Thirty-nine MSPs opposed the Gender Recognition Bill.

Ms Badenoch, who also serves as Rishi Sunak’s International Trade Secretary, issued a statement responding to the bill.

She said: “Today, the SNP passed their Gender Recognition Bill, despite strong opposition even within their own party, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and Girls and a variety of civic groups in Scotland.

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“I share their concerns. Particularly, on this bill’s impact on the functioning of the Equality Act, which is designed to protect all UK citizens.

“The Scottish Government has not addressed the full implications of their bill – especially the lives of women and girls.

“The UK Government is now looking at provisions that can prompt reconsideration and allow MSPs to address these issues.”

In a caption accompanying her statement, Saffron Walden’s Brexit-backing MP added: “I was disappointed to see sensible amendments to this bill voted down and believe MSPs need more time to address outstanding concerns.”

Ms Badenoch had met with her Scottish counterpart Shona Robison to discuss the details of the bill on Monday.

Her statement came just hours after Scottish Secretary Alister Jack revealed the UK Government would look at stopping the bill from going for royal assent.

He said: “We share the concerns that many people have regarding certain aspects of this bill, and in particular the safety issues for women and children.

“We will look closely at that, and also the ramifications for the 2010 Equality Act and other UK-wide legislation, in the coming weeks – up to and including a section 35 order stopping the bill going for royal assent if necessary.”

Section 35 of the Scotland Act enables Mr Jack to make an order which would prevent Holyrood’s presiding officer from submitting a bill for royal assent if they have reasonable grounds to believe it would have an adverse effect on the operation of the law as it applies to reserved matters.

Ahead of the vote, UK Government briefings warned it would create “legal chaos” and even result in “gender tourism”.

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Ms Sturgeon’s SNP-led Government would likely challenge the UK Government if it pursued such a move.

According to the Guardian, Sturgeon could either seek a judicial review or a direct reference to the Supreme Court.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The bill as passed is within legislative competence, and was backed by an overwhelming majority, with support from all parties.

“Any attempt by the UK Government to undermine the democratic will of the Scottish Parliament will be vigorously contested by the Scottish Government.”

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