THE UK Government is being urged to “respect” Scotland’s devolution settlement by politicians in Europe.

The European Free Alliance (EFA) – a political organisation constituted of various nationalist and regionalist and autonomist parties across Europe – said that the UK Government’s move to block gender reform legislation, which was overwhelmingly passed in the Scottish Parliament before Christmas, was a “direct attack” on devolution.

The EFA represents 43 parties across the EU, and features 10 MEPs within its ranks.

In statement released online the group said the UK should avoid using its powers to "create conflict" with devolved parliaments. 

They said: “EFA, being the party for democracy, self-determination, and equality, believes that such a move is a direct attack on the autonomy afforded to Scotland through the Scotland Act. States should not abuse their constitutional powers to create conflict over political differences.

"The Scottish Parliament is elected by the Scottish people, and decisions made in that parliament should not be overruled from above. The law in question, known as the ‘Gender Recognition Bill’, was the result of six years of consultation and was debated at length in the Scottish Parliament before being approved by a majority vote."

The EFA also condemned the use of transgender people as a “tool to attempt to sow division.”

“EFA also condemns the use of minorities as a tool to attempt to sow division," they said. 

"Notwithstanding the differences of opinion over the bill, it is unacceptable that the rights of vulnerable communities are being used to create a constitutional conflict.

READ MORE: Five reasons why the UK Government blocked Scotland's gender bill

“The solution to differences is dialogue, not conflict. Autonomous governments and their mandates must be respected. It is unthinkable that once again in Europe a government has used such a mechanism to overrule a democratically elected autonomous legislature.”

Although this is the first time that the UK Government has issued a Section 35 order, which blocks the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from gaining Royal Assent and becoming law, it is not the only time the UK has intervened with the workings of the Scottish Parliament.

Indeed, the UK Government has previously taken bills passed by the Scottish Parliament to the Supreme Court.