Humza Yousaf's gender court battle ‘squandering’ taxpayers’ money, say Scottish Tories

humza yousaf's gender court battle ‘squandering’ taxpayers’ money, say scottish tories

Mr Yousaf’s legal case has been labelled ‘a needless and unwanted court battle to manufacture constitutional grievance’ – Robert Perry/PA

Humza Yousaf has been accused of “squandering” taxpayers’ money on a court battle with the British Government that starts on Tuesday on Nicola Sturgeon’s self-ID gender laws.

Meghan Gallacher, the deputy leader of the Scottish Tories, said that the First Minister should have admitted that the SNP-Green coalition had got the reforms “badly wrong”.

But she said that Mr Yousaf had decided instead to “double down” on the changes and embark on “a needless and unwanted court battle to manufacture constitutional grievance”.

She was speaking before the start on Tuesday morning of a showdown at the Court of Session between the Scottish and British governments on the reforms.

The SNP’s Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) Bill would allow Scots to change their legal gender by simply signing a statutory declaration, dropping the requirement for a formal medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

It would also drastically lower the time period in which someone must live in their “acquired gender” from two years to as little as six months and allow 16- and 17-year-olds to obtain gender recognition certificates for the first time.

humza yousaf's gender court battle ‘squandering’ taxpayers’ money, say scottish tories

Mr Yousaf has pressed ahead despite legal experts warning that he has little chance of success – Ken Jack/Getty Images Europe

There was a huge public backlash against the reforms after trans predator Isla Bryson was initially sent to a women’s prison after being convicted of two rapes.

Although Bryson had not legally changed gender, Scottish Prison Service guidance at the time stated that trans criminals should be sent to the jail that matched their self-identified gender that they were living in before their conviction.

Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary, vetoed the GRR Bill by tabling an order under Section 35 of the Scotland Act, which created devolution, amid fears that the legislation would undermine UK-wide protections for women.

Mr Yousaf, Ms Sturgeon’s successor as the First Minister and SNP leader, pressed ahead with a petition for judicial review of the decision despite legal experts warning that he has little chance of success.

The First Minister has argued that the case was about defending the “principle” that Holyrood legislation in a devolved area should not be vetoed by the British Government. It is the first time a Section 35 order has been issued.

However, senior SNP sources told the Telegraph that he may not appeal the case to the UK Supreme Court if the Court of Session delivers a clear-cut rejection of his case. The hearing, before Lady Haldane, is expected to last three days.

‘Majority of Scots firmly oppose it’

Ms Gallacher said that Mr Jack had “no choice” but to issue the order and accused Mr Yousaf of “choosing to squander taxpayers’ money” on legal action.

She said: “It’s disappointing that the SNP-Greens are determined to double down on their reckless gender self-ID Bill, when a majority of Scots firmly oppose it.

“The public recognise – as women’s groups and many of my Scottish Conservative colleagues warned last year – that this legislation compromises the safety of women and girls.

“Those legitimate concerns were arrogantly dismissed by the Nationalist coalition – as well as Labour and the Liberal Democrats – who shamefully whipped their MSPs to vote for it.”

But Maggie Chapman, a Green MSP, said: “It is shocking that we have been put in this position. If the Section 35 order is allowed to stand it will set a terrible precedent for human rights and devolution.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The judicial review proceedings are now before the court. It would not be appropriate to comment on live legal proceedings.”


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