Readers' letters: Lord Hope’s veto defence assaults devolution

Lord Hope's defence of the UK Government’s use of Section 35 to justify Westminster’s veto on a Scottish Parliament bill that has been scrutinised for six years, plus two public consultations, then approved by the vast majority of MSP’s from every party except the Tories is not shared by other experts.

Lord Charlie Faulkner, who was UK Solicitor General, Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and first Secretary of State for Justice, examined the UK Government’s Statement of Reasons and came to the conclusion that it did not justify the use of Section 35.

This is clearly a devolved matter and the UK currently accepts Gender Recognition Certificates from over 60 countries that operate a self-ID procedure - but apparently not for the handful of transgender people from Scotland that might move to England.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It is disappointing that yet again Labour MPs, including Ian Murray, merely abstained rather than standing up for Scotland, respecting democratic decisions taken in our parliament and devolution powers in general.

As Monica Lennon MSP said, Ian Murray's view was "disingenuous" and does not reflect those of the Scottish Labour MSP group. This is not about the Equalities Act but yet another assault on devolution.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

Westminster right to question GRR Bill

The UK Government has rightly called for a re-evaluation of the implications of Scottish administration's Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

Doubtless there were some who may have had inklings that Scotland's First Minister and her legal advisors knew perfectly well that this ill-consided legislation would provide a golden opportunity for further cries of simulated outrage and accusations of further imagined abuses of democracy in order to add further fuel to their independence obsession.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ms Sturgeon claimed that it was "proposterous" and "undemocratic" that Rishi Sunak became PM without a general election, while conveniently forgetting that she became the SNP leader in 2014 after standing unopposed.

She has escaped due scrutiny for breaking the ministerial code on a number of occasions saying that "lack of transparency is justified on occasions".

Neil J Bryce, Kelso

Sturgeon is picking the wrong fight

By trying to frame the GRR dispute as an attack on trans people and Scottish devolution, Nicola Sturgeon is losing the argument and the propaganda war.

And the likes of Anas Sarwar and Monical Lennon, by parroting the rhetoric, are waving goodbye to the thousands of voters that could have won them back some Holyrood and Westminster seats, and probably lost some current supporters too.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Not only do mainstream polls show support for the UK's actions, so do pro-independence and trans groups. For example, when Wings Over Scotland's asked "do you support the UK Government's intervention over the Gender Recognition Reform Bill?" 78.7 per cent of three thousand followers responded "yes" and a survey by the Byline pro-trans group showed 65 per cent agreed with the UK Government.

The SNP/Greens are destined for another Supreme Court slap down and a wave of recrimination from supporters that could render Sturgeon's already declining authority and popularity irreversibly terminal.

She has picked the wrong fight and wrong tactics and so, by association, has the Scottish Labour leadership

Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven

Write to the Edinburgh Evening News

We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won’t print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.