REPORTS that the UK Government could “absolutely” ignore Scottish reforms to the Gender Recognition Act have sparked fury north of the Border.

On Thursday night, it emerged that a BBC government source said that Westminster could mount a legal challenge to the Scottish Government’s plans to make it easier for people to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) – and that reforms could be ignored in other parts of the UK.

The source claimed that it was a “test case scenario” of how Holyrood could undermine Westminster’s competencies.

The UK Government has repeatedly raised concerns over the proposed reforms currently making their way through the Scottish Parliament.

And now the Scottish Greens and a number of activist groups have reacted furiously to the reports.

Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman MSP said that trans people “deserve to be recognised as who they are”, adding: “Attempts to undermine this would be a new low, even from this bigoted, loathsome and reactionary Tory government.

“They have tried to stop gender recognition reform in the Scottish Parliament, now they are threatening to do it from Westminster.

“It would not just be a cruel attack on the LGBTQIA+ community, it would be a disgraceful attack on devolution and on democracy. The UK Government recognises GRCs from other countries - they should honour those issued in Scotland.”

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She continued: “We will always stand with our trans siblings, particularly when they are under fire from a cynical and reactionary campaign of disinformation and prejudice like the one that the Tories have been at the forefront of for so long.

“With Greens in government, we will pass the Gender Recognition Reform Bill, end conversion practices, and transform gender identity services.”

Stonewall’s director of nations, Colin Macfarlane, commented that the Scottish Government has an “overwhelming mandate” to reform the GRA and that any attempt from Westminster to “interfere in the democratic process of the Scottish Parliament” would be “nothing short of a disgrace that shows a total lack of respect”.

He continued: “It will be yet another example of hampering progress on LGBTQ+ rights and undermine the Prime Minister’s pledge to govern with compassion.

“The UK Government already recognises equivalent birth certificates from all EU/EEA countries, including countries which have a de-medicalised model of legal gender recognition, so to refuse to recognise Scottish certificates would be a mistake, fly in the face of international best practice and come across as spiteful.

“We hope this is the not the approach the Prime Minister wishes for the UK Government to take’’.

Meanwhile, the CEO of human rights charity Emma Hutton JustRight Scotland commented that the proposed bill “sits firmly within powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament” and that it can be “exercised in a way that is no different to the powers to register a marriage that has taken place in Scotland, or a declaration to legally change your name, following adoption, marriage or divorce”.

She added: “Whilst the UK Government does have the power to determine, for example, what evidence an agency like the DWP or HMRC would require in order to verify an individual’s identity or register a change of name, marital status or gender, these agencies already have a process in place for such matters – and assessing an identity document produced by an applicant from Scotland is presumably no different to undertaking the same process for an applicant from England & Wales or Northern Ireland, nor should it be.”

She went on to say that JustRight Scotland will continue to support the Scottish Government’s bill and urged lawmakers to “focus on the issues at the core of this important legislation, which are about ensuring that trans people in Scotland can be legally recognised as who they are”.

The bill itself aims to reduce the time it takes to receive a GRC, lower the age to get one from 18 to 16 and remove the requirement of a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

However, if the UK Government were to take the stance reported by the BBC source, it would be more difficult for a trans person to have their legal status recognised in other parts of the UK.

MSPs will debate the bill for the final time later this month before Holyrood enters recess over the festive period.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “As the UN Special Rapporteur has set out, the Scottish Government’s proposals currently raise a number of clear concerns.

“In order to understand the potential impact of the bill on the rights of people across the United Kingdom, we will continue to monitor its progress. We have made no decision on any potential action at this time.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The UK Government’s minister for women and equalities has responded to a letter sent by the Scottish Government in October setting out relevant policy considerations for the UK Government, undertaking to work constructively on cross-border issues, and offering to meet.

“Ms Robison will be happy to meet with Ms Badenoch.”