U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to veto a Scottish bill aimed at granting 16- and 17-year-olds access to gender recognition certificates Monday.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) passed legislation in December allowing residents to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) without a medical diagnosis and also lowered the age requirement to 16. U.K. law allows the British Parliament four weeks to weigh in on Scottish legislation. That deadline will pass Wednesday, and Sunak is expected to veto the bill before then, according to the Express.
“Lots of people have got concerns about this new Bill in Scotland, about the impact it will have on women’s and children’s safety,” Sunak said. “So I think it is completely reasonable for the UK Government to have a look at it, understand what the consequences are for women and children’s safety in the rest of the UK, and then decide on what the appropriate course of action is.”
In addition to removing the requirement for a medical diagnosis, the Scottish bill would also allow residents to apply for a GRC after just three months of living under a new gender identity, down from the previous two years.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon lambasted the previous system as “intrusive, traumatic and dehumanizing.”
Scotland’s Social Justice Secretary Shona Robinson vowed last month that the Scottish parliament plans to “vigorously contest” any attempts by Westminster to “undermine the democratic will” of Scotland’s government.
U.K. media has noted that under Section 35 of the 1998 Scotland Act, Westminster can ban Scottish legislation if it thinks it has an “adverse effect” on laws that otherwise fall under British Parliament jurisdiction.
Sunak’s government has expressed concern about how the bill will affect single-sex areas for women and kids.
“We share the concerns that others – including the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Girls – have with the Bill, particularly around safety issues for women and children,” a government spokeswoman told Express on Monday.
“We are looking closely at these issues, and also the ramifications for the 2010 Equality Act and other UK wide legislation,” she added.
Sunak’s move would be the first time a U.K. Prime Minister exercised the authority to veto Scottish legislation. The move may give rise to further anti-British sentiment in Scotland, which tried and failed to hold an independence referendum last year.
Fox News’ Peter Aitken contributed to this report.