A majority of the public who expresss an opinion on the Scottish Parliament’s controversial Gender Recognition Reform bill have backed Rishi Sunak’s decision to invoke never before used powers to block the legislation which could allow a rapist to insist on being put into a prison for women. The row has provoked a constitutional crisis with Nicola Sturgeon claiming it undermines Scottish democracy.
According to the exclusive Techne UK poll for Express.co.uk, 40 percent support Mr Sunak’s UK Government decision to veto the bill while 29 percent oppose it.
The results from a survey of 1,624 voters last week comes as senior members of the SNP have privately admitted they have concerns about Ms Sturgeon’s leadership pressing ahead with the reform.
One senior SNP figure said a majority of party members and a majority of Scots oppose the legislation and Ms Sturgeon is in danger of reinforcing Scotland’s place in the Union by making “the UK Government look like a safeguard” against laws from Holyrood the majority do not want.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the decision to block the bill was because of the “consequences to UK equality legislation”.
He invited Ms Sturgeon to talk about how it can be changed but so far the Scottish First Minister has refused.
However, the findings of the Techne UK poll show that while more people support Mr Sunak’s position, the UK is divided on this issue as well.
Among 2016 Remainer voters more people have sided with Sturgeon than Sunak by 37 percent to 33 percent.
But Leave voters are clearly on the side of the UK Government by 53 percent to 19 percent.
There is also an age divide with voters aged 18-to-34-years old supporting the Scottish legislation by 36 percent to 32 percent.
But among those aged 65 and old there is support for Mr Sunak’s actions by 49 percent to 22 percent.
Conservative voters from 2019 back the UK Government by 61 percent to 15 percent but Labour voters from the same election support Sturgeon by 41 percent to 29 percent.
Scottish Labour backed the legislation and many Labour MPs spoke out against Mr Sunak’s actions taken to safeguard women.
Canterbury Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who backed Mr Sunak, was heckled by MPs in her own party and later wrote that Labour “has a woman problem”.
READ MORE: SNP figures fear Sturgeon has made the case against independence
Meanwhole Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle was criticised for screaming “bigot” at Conservative backbencher Miriam Cates when she spoke on the need to protect women’s safe spaces.
He later walked across the Chamber and sat near the female Tory MP staring at her in an apparently intimidatory manner.
The legislation would have changed the minimum age a person can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate from eighteen to sixteen, and removing the need for a medical diagnosis and evidence of having lived for two years in their acquired gender.
Attempts to add safeguards such as one to prevent male sexual offenders from changing the gender designation so they could enter a female prison were voted down in the Scottish Parliament.
The legislaition had cross party support and was backed by trans activists but women’s groups with support of the author J.K. Rowling and SNP MP Joanna Cherry opposed the bill.
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