Nicola Sturgeon's new gender self-identification law BLOCKED for rest of UK

Nicola Sturgeon introduced the Gender Recognition Reform Bill last year
Nicola Sturgeon introduced the Gender Recognition Reform Bill last year

There have been concerns the SNP-led government's looser rules on gender recognition will lead to "gender tourism"

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Nicola Sturgeon's new gender self-identification certificate will be barred from applying to the rest of the UK under plans being drawn up by ministers.

Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch is looking to ensure that Scotland’s new Gender Recognition Reform Bill cannot be used to bypass rules set in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon during the debate for the Stage 3 Proceedings of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon during the debate for the Stage 3 Proceedings of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

There have been concerns the SNP-led government's looser rules on gender recognition will lead to "gender tourism", with people travelling to Scotland to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) that they know they would have been unable to attain elsewhere in the UK.

Under Sturgeon's planned new law, those wishing to change gender can apply for a certificate from the age of 16 rather than 18, and reduces the time that person must live in their acquired gender.

Badenoch is understood to be planning to update the list of countries from which the Government recognises a GRC to ensure their checks are sufficiently strict.

The list was updated last in 2011, with Montenegro and Latvia being removed.

The new review will give ministers the opportunity to ensure those with a GRC from Scotland are no longer automatically recognised in the rest of the UK but must instead apply for a new certificate.

A UK government source told The Times: "This is just a procedural change and it was envisaged in the 2004 act.

"It is not a new measure, it was done in 2011 and we are updating it for 2023.

"We are not discriminating against people from foreign countries with GRCs.

"If they arrive in this country with one from a country that has a less rigorous system than the UK, we’re saying you should apply for a UK GRC, which is readily available."

Ministers fear the consequences of the law for the rest of the UK
Ministers fear the consequences of the law for the rest of the UK

At the same time, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack is looking at whether the Gender Recognition Reform Bill is legal.

The Government could take action in the courts to block the Bill from officially entering law altogether.

It is looking at whether the law can be rejected under the Scotland Act which allows the UK Government to prohibit a Bill from entering into law north of the border if it would have an adverse impact on UK-wide legislation.

Jack said last month: "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."