ALISTER Jack is set to stop Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from becoming law after it was passed overwhelmingly by MSPs.

Despite the bill receiving cross party support, the Scottish Secretary of State will use a Section 35 Order to stop it from getting Royal Assent.

In a statement, he said: “After thorough and careful consideration of all the relevant advice and the policy implications, I am concerned that this legislation would have an adverse impact on the operation of Great Britain-wide equalities legislation.”

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But who is Alister Jack, what has he done in his political career so far and what does he stand for?

Who is Alister Jack?

The 59-year-old was elected as the MP for Dumfries and Galloway at the 2017 General Election, defeating incumbent SNP MP Richard Arkless.

He is one of just six Tory MPs across the whole of Scotland. Jack served as lord commissioner of the Treasury for a brief period in 2019 when Theresa May was still prime minister.

Boris Johnson then appointed him as Secretary of State for Scotland, a position he retained following both Johnson and his successor Liz Truss’s resignations.

Where does he come from?

Jack was born in Dumfries and later attended Heriot-Watt University. He made his business in self-storage, making an estimated £20 million through his company Armadillo.

He initially stood unsuccessfully for the Conservatives in the Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale seat in 1997’s General Election.

As well as this, he served as vice-chairman of the Scottish Conservatives during William Hague’s leadership between 1997 and 2001.  

In 2019, STV reported that one journalist, quoting a "Scottish Tory frontbencher", described Jack as "capable" but added: "The reason he is so popular with the UK party is because he invites ministers to his country estate."

Speaking in 2017 to journalist Kathryn Samson the politician dismissed the claim he was a "toff".

Jack said: "I do enjoy country sports and I make no secret of that... but I'm local born-and-bred."

Views on European Union

This month, Jack said that there is “no desire in Scotland to have membership of the EU” despite significant evidence to the contrary.

A National poll of almost 6000 people found that 90% wanted Scotland to rejoint the EU while the Scotland Office refused to retract the claim.

He also previously stated that leaving the EU without a deal wouldn’t be “seriously damaging”.

In 2019, the Brexiteer was branded a hypocrite for claiming almost £1.2 million in EU funding.

He also promised Scotland a post-Brexit bonanza, saying that after leaving the EU the UK will have a greater say in how millions of pounds in funding will be spent in Scotland.

Covid business loans

The Scottish Secretary became involved in yet another funding row this week after it was revealed that he benefitted from a £2 million Covid loan backed by the UK Government during the pandemic.

The Tory owns a stake in One Rebel, a chain of gyms based in London, which drew on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme as one of a number of measures to keep the business afloat during lockdown, the Sunday Mail revealed.

Jack’s share in the company, listed as a financial interest in his register of interest, is valued as being worth at least £70,000 – the precise value is not listed and could be higher.

£1m farming subsidies

It's not just Covid loans and EU funding Jack has accepted, the Scot has pocked more than £830,000 in UK Government subsidies since 2014.

The Tory Cabinet minister lists Courance Farms on his Register of Interests - along with a raft of others including investment holding firm Atlantic Solway Holdings Ltd, and hydro-electric power company Mollin HEP Ltd.

Official figures from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that Courance Farms was handed £96,353.28 in handouts as part of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2020 alone.

The funding has seen some backlash, especially after the minister said that the Universal Uplift announced during the Covid pandemic had "run its course".

Boris Johnson loyalist

Appointed by Johnson, Jack stood firm with the former PM over multiple scandals. 

The Scottish Secretary stayed loyal to Johnson even in the final hours of his tenure, defending pandemic partying at Whitehall and sticking by him as a wave of ministers quit the Cabinet last year.

The National: Allister Jack, left, stuck by Boris Johnson until the last hours of his premiership Allister Jack, left, stuck by Boris Johnson until the last hours of his premiership

His loyalty was apparently rewarded as he was nominated for a peerage by his old boss, joining fellow loyalist Nadine Dorries in Johnson's resignation honours list.

Reports suggest that both Jack and Dorries will put off their entrance into the House of Lords until the end of the parliamentary term. This would avoid a by-election in their constituencies.

Splitting from the UK Conservative Party

In early 2022, it was revealed that Jack had backed a breakaway Scottish Conservative party and offered it "significant sums" of cash. 

The Scottish Secretary gave his backing to Murdo Fraser's 2011 Tory leadership bid.

Fraser proposed splitting the Scottish Conservative party from the UK Tories to "detoxify" the brand.

The National: Alister Jack apparently backed separating the UK Conservative Party from the Scottish party in 2011 Alister Jack apparently backed separating the UK Conservative Party from the Scottish party in 2011

Jack, a multi-millionaire, offered his support to the radical proposal and said he would be willing to fund the party if Fraser's bid was successful. 

But the plans never came to fruition and Ruth Davidson was elected Scottish Tory leader. 

Attempt to block Scotland's indyref2 preparations 

In November, Jack said the head of the UK Civil Service would look into whether Scottish officials should still be allowed to work on indyref2 preparation.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case and senior civil servants would discuss the issue with John-Paul Marks, the Scottish Government’s permanent secretary, Jack said.

That came despite a Tory minister suggesting the Scottish Government can legally spend money on anything it likes.

“Zombie” Scotland Office

Last July, The National took a deep dive into the Scotland Office’s transparency data to see which groups Jack and other officials had been prioritising.

SNP deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black blasted the “zombie” office, saying he had been “ripping people off” with spiralling costs.

At the time, data showed that of Jack’s 111 meetings during his tenure, 65% of those were with business leaders while he had only put in one “short” call to the Scottish Trade Union Congress to discuss Covid-19.  

Attack on the BBC

The Tory hit out at the BBC in 2017 as he accused the broadcaster of "pandering to a separatist agenda".

Jack said he had written to the corporation's director general following the Proms in the Park concert in Glasgow.

The event saw the Last Night of the Proms in London broadcast live in Glasgow with breaks in between songs for live events in the Scottish city.

But Jack expressed fury after the intermissions meant Scots missed out on the "staple diet" of classic songs at the London event.

The National: Alister Jack was not happy with the BBC in 2017Alister Jack was not happy with the BBC in 2017

In a letter to the BBC, he said: “Only the Proms in the Park attendees in England and Northern Ireland were able to enjoy and sing along to Rule Britannia!, Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem.

“These great songs are part of the staple diet of The Proms and it is ridiculous that the BBC chose to deny the Scottish Proms fans on Glasgow Green the rousing conclusion they have come to expect.

“The BBC give the impression that they are pandering to a separatist agenda.”

What has he said about gender reform?

Jack will deliver a statement to the Commons on Tuesday where he will use a Section 35 Order to stop the bill from becoming law.

He said: “Transgender people who are going through the process to change their legal sex deserve our respect, support and understanding.

READ MORE: BBC Scotland radio host calls Nicola Sturgeon 'our leader'

“My decision is about the legislation’s consequences for the operation of GB-wide equalities protections and other reserved matters.

“I have not taken this decision lightly.”