ANAS Sarwar has called for a “grown-up approach” to the UK Government’s decision to veto Scotland’s gender reform bill, which was backed by Scottish Labour.

The Scottish Labour leader has faced criticism for his silence on the issue over the last two days as divisions between his party and his UK bosses started to show.

He was not seen at the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

This comes after Keir Starmer said he had “concerns” over the bill, a move which Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon said she was “very disappointed” about.

Asked about the vetoing of the bill by Radio Clyde, Sarwar said: “I don’t think this is the right approach from the UK Government, I think it’s the wrong approach.

“We don’t need a constitutional fight on this, we don’t need a culture war on this which is so often the case with Tory politics across the country.

“Instead we need a grown-up approach, a pragmatic approach, a principled approach, a good-faith approach going forward so we can protect the rights of trans people whilst also maintain the protections of single-sex spaces.”

The Scottish Labour leader was then pressed on where he had been over the last two days, to which he replied that Ian Murray had spoken for the party as shadow secretary for Scotland.

Murray said that the Scottish Government had “failed to bring people with them” on gender reform.

Sarwar was also keen to play down ideas of conflict between his party and Keir Starmer, who said he was concerned about 16-year-olds being able to legally change their gender.

He said: “Where Keir and I agree is we are both absolute supporters of devolution, we both support reform of gender laws across our country, we both believe we need to remove the inhumanities in obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).

“We both recognise that trans people face prejudice every single day. We have to address that and we both believe that we have to protect single-sex spaces. That is where there is no disagreement at all.”

He said the Section 35 Order was about “playing politics”. Sarwar added: “How Keir decides what the law looks like in other parts of the UK is absolutely a matter for the UK party.

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“But where there is agreement is around protection of devolution, around reform, around protection of single-sex spaces and removing the inhumanities of the process of obtaining a GRC.

“That’s what we sought to do in the bill here in Scotland and now what we need to see is where there are concerns, that those concerns are addressed through the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and the issuing of guidance, that is really, really important.”