Readers' letters: Gender reform is not dead and buried

Un-named MPs claim that the Gender Recognition Reform Bill is dead, and that it has set trans rights back. It's not clear why an anonymous MP thinks they can speak for trans people.

It is nonsense to say that the bill was rushed through. It was consulted on publicly over five years and had more debate in the Parliament than almost any other bill. It was then passed by a large majority including MSPs of all parties.

The bill is far from dead. It is now the Parliament's bill and only the Parliament can withdraw it. It is possible that a court challenge to the section 35 order might not succeed.

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The courts have ruled before that the Scotland Act means that power devolved is power retained, and that the UK has the final say. But that would not end the bill, which would remain on the Parliament's books.

It is clear that the current UK government is refusing even to discuss a solution that would allow the section 35 order to be lifted. However, the Labour party supports reform of gender recognition.

If necessary, the Scottish government can simply wait for a change in UK government, and then negotiate to lift the order, with the necessary adjustments to cross-border matters and if needed, the reserved Equality Act.

Those can be made in the usual cooperative way for UK amendments in consequence of a Scottish bill, via a "section 104 order" at Westminster.

Tim Hopkins, Equality Network, Edinburgh

Starmer abandons Labour principles

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The Liberal Prime Minister Joseph Chamberlain said in 1886 "in politics there is no point in looking any further ahead than the next two weeks." Labour PM Harold Wilson said "a week in politics is a long time",

What a difference a few days make! As an activist in the Edinburgh Northern and Leith Labour Party, I have resigned from the party on points of principal.

First, I surprisingly find myself on the same side as Ms Sturgeon when it comes to the Gender Recognition Reforms. Regrettably when I raised this as a motion for discussion it was quashed by the chair on a technicality. I prefer to believe it was far more sinister than that and the party didn't wish to have a discussion and a vote in favour.

Last week, of course, Sir Keir Starmer haughtily went to the TV studios to deny the members of Islington North Labour Party the opportunity, as per the party's rule book, to decide upon their candidate for the next general election - well, anyone but Jeremy Corbyn.

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No other Labour party leader or constituency members have quashed his candidacy since he first became an MP in 1983.

Finally, Sir Keir Starmer has regularly visited Glasgow and Dundee, each with horrendous drug deaths, pontificating about what needs to be done. Well he had a chance on Sunday to say he would abolish the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and support legalised regulation. He didn't.

Douglas McBean, Edinburgh

Sturgeon’s exit aids Scottish Labour

The political scene in Scotland is rapidly changing. The resignation of Nicola Sturgeon leaves a void in the SNP which is now divided and wounded, with a left versus right battle for its future.

Scottish Labour leadership is now in a good position to take advantage of this weakness and gather support from disillusioned SNP supporters who have had quite enough of the SNP policies they don’t support.

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With the next elections just more than a year away, the timing is good for Scottish Labour to make progress in winning back the traditional Labour vote.

D Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen

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