Readers' letters: UK veto on Scots law is unacceptable

Proposals by the UK Government to veto Scotland’s new gender recognition legislation are highly questionable.

Under the terms of the Scotland Act, a section 35 order could be sought by the UK Government, preventing the Gender Recognition Reform Bill from coming into force. For this it must satisfy two conditions.

First, that the Bill makes modifications to the law as it applies to reserved matters and second that the secretary of State for Scotland has reasonable grounds to believe it would have an adverse effect on the operation of the law as it applies to reserved matters.

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However, it is to be noted the Bill does not impact on reserved matters. It is true that “equal opportunities”, as outlined in the Equality Act and the likely rationale for the UK Government to block it, is reserved to Westminster. However, the Scotland Act defines equal opportunities as “the prevention, elimination or regulation of discrimination” based on a range of protected characteristics. Gender reform doesn’t seem to fall within this reservation.

Wherever one stands on the legislation, blocking this through a section 35 order would be unprecedented and further inflame tensions between Holyrood and Westminster.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

Banning alcohol ads will harm business

Not content with ruining shipbuilding, education, steel making, NHS Scotland, oil and gas exploration, the SNP and Greens now have sights on our national drink.

The Scottish Government are considering a further crackdown on advertising alcohol, as the minimum cost per unit hasn’t worked.

The increased cost of cider has had little change of consumption. Drug deaths have increased in the meantime as they are often cheaper than alcohol - drugs tend not to come in attractive advertising packaging, so nothing to ban there.

Our SG considers “without branding and other marketing strategies, alcohol products in each beverage sub-sector are essentially variations of the same thing”.

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I am sure suggesting all malt and blended whisky tastes the same, and it is only the packaging that allows the consumer to tell the difference will go down well with our distillers. Our specialists’ brewers would also disagree.

Why are SNP so intent on destroying businesses?

Alastair Murray, Edinburgh

Change the traffic policy on Leith Walk

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Regarding Leith Walk and the difficulties for traffic with the No Left Turn into London Road.

The simple answer is to reinstate the left turn.

No street in Leith Walk is open for a left turn and London Road is the A1, a major road connecting Portobello, Musselburgh and East Lothian.

The pavement at Elm Row is the width of a dance floor answer; narrow it and reuse the space for existing traffic.

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Transport convener Cllr Scott Arthur advised me the existing lights "may" cause an accident but they have been there for years and years.

The clowncil need to come and see the disaster area they have created by not listening to the residents of Leith. Picardy Place is a real joke usually gridlocked.

Catherine Dowds, Edinburgh.

Write to the Edinburgh Evening News

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