Colin Fox: Section 35 order is “an incendiary move”

SSP National Cospokesperson Colin Fox has issued the below statement following the UK government’s ‘nuclear option’ against the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill:

“Had I still been an MSP I would have voted for the Gender Recognition Reform Bill passed by Holyrood in December.

“Its General Principles were, as Nicola Sturgeon and most other MSP’s argued, ‘minor amendments which would have added to the dignity and quality of life of transgender people’ without impinging on the rights of others.

“The use of the Section 35 Order on it by Scottish Secretary Alister Jack – denying the Bill Royal Assent – is an incendiary move by the UK Government.

“They could easily have used the powers under Section 33 of The 1997 Scotland Act to question the Bill and work to amend it instead – a process used many times by successive UK Governments since 1999.

“The decision to publicly crush the majority opinion of the Scottish Parliament instead, a path not taken in the entire life of the parliament so far, underlines that the choice was a political one used for perceived Tory party political advantage.

“Centrally this episode again underscores the truth that devolution leaves power in the hands of Westminster and that situation was confirmed by the No vote of 2014. The Scottish Government is unlikely to succeed in any judicial challenge to the Section 35 Order.

“The only certain way to ensure that decisions of the elected Scottish Parliament are supreme is to vote for independence and remove Westminster from the process.

“The SSP has been and remains firm supporters of independence as the most democratic answer to ensuring Scotland get the government they vote for.”