I firmly believe that transgender people deserve respect, support and understanding. The announcement by the Secretary of State for Scotland which will prevent the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from proceeding to Royal Assent, is about the legislation's consequences for the operation of UK wide equalities protections and other reserved matters.
The Bill will have significantly adverse effects, including the impact on the operation of the Equality Act 2010. In particular, the Government has said it shares the concerns of many experts and civil society groups regarding the potential impact of the Bill on the safety of women and children. I am particularly concerned that under 18s are not in the capacity to make decisions about their gender identity, but wholly support people wanting to transition to do so when they turn 18 years old.
I can assure you that this decision has not been taken lightly, and the UK Government fully respects the Scottish Parliament's competency to make decisions within devolved areas but it cannot ignore the significant consequences of this Bill for reserved areas.