NICOLA Sturgeon today blasted Keir Starmer as she vowed to “vigorously” defend gender reform legislation passed at Holyrood.
And she said it was “unconscionable and indefensible” for trans people to be used as a “political weapon” as she hammered UK ministers.
The Labour yesterday voiced his concerns about lowering the age at which a person can legally change their gender from 18 to 16.
It is despite a majority of Scottish Labour MSPs in Edinburgh voting in favour of the move.
Speaking to the BBC, Sir Keir also did not rule out backing UK Government ministers in blocking the legislation.
However, during a press conference on NHS pressures, Ms Sturgeon insisted that the Scottish Government will fight any attempt to stop the Bill from becoming law.
She said: “We will vigorously defend the legislation. Depending on if there is a challenge, and I hope there won’t be, but the indications would suggest that that may be what we are looking at, it will depend what route to that the UK Government takes.
“What I can say in general is that we will absolutely, robustly and rigorously, and with a very, very, very high degree of confidence, defend the legislation.”
The Nats leader described it as “unconscionable” for trans people to be used as a “political weapon”.
She said: “In my view, there are no grounds to challenge this legislation. It is within the competence of the Scottish Parliament, it doesn’t affect the operation of the Equality Act and it was passed by an overwhelming majority of the Scottish Parliament after very lengthy and very intense scrutiny by MSPs of all parties represented in the parliament.
“So if there is a decision to challenge (the legislation) then in my view, it will be, quite simply, a political decision and I think it will be using trans people, already one of the most vulnerable, stigmatised groups in our society, as a political weapon and I think that will be unconscionable and indefensible and really quite disgraceful.”
Ms Sturgeon insisted it is also a matter of principle for the Scottish Parliament to be able to legislative in areas of devolved competence.
And she slammed Sir Keir as she suggested he would be showing “utter contempt” for his party at Holyrood if he backs any attempt by the UK Government to block the Bill.
She said: “I start to wonder and I suspect I’m not the only one who starts to wonder if there is anything Keir Starmer is willing to stand up and be counted on in the face of Tory attacks.
“I don’t think the UK needs a pale imitation of this Tory government. It needs an alternative to this Tory government.
“On this particular issue, of course this is legislation that was scrutinised and voted for by Keir Starmer’s own party in the Scottish Parliament.
“If he backed any move by the Government to block this, he’d be showing utter contempt for his own Scottish party, as well as the Scottish Parliament.
“So we’ll see what happens this week, but there is no justification whatsoever for the action that is being talked about.”
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