The National:

BBC Scotland’s political editor appeared stunned when Unionist-in-chief Alister Jack was branded a “Viceroy” after blocking Holyrood’s gender recognition reforms.

Glenn Campbell grabbed Labour MSP Paul Sweeney for a chat to discuss the news the UK Government would stop the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform bill from becoming law – and appeared to get a stronger response than he had anticipated.

Sweeney reached for a colonial metaphor to describe the Scottish Secretary – and told Jack to get “back in his box”.

Speaking to Campbell, the Glasgow MSP said: “It feels like a politically malicious act and I think it’s about time that Viceroy Jack got back in his box.”

READ MORE: Scotland's democracy is 'collateral' in Tory 'culture war' over trans law block

A shocked Campbell responded: “The viceroy?!”

Sweeney said: “Yeah, I think it’s a deeply unusual act that’s an affront to the parliament and this democratic institution.”

A Viceroy in UK usage typically refers to the colonial Lord Lieutenant of Ireland before independence or the Crown’s representative in India under the Raj – either way, not a comparison you’d relish.

Not least because the record of countries under the UK’s yoke with “viceroys” achieving independence (Ireland, tick; India, tick) does not bode well for the Unionists.

But Sweeney may well reflect that it was his party’s Scotland Act in 1998 which created the viceroy power Jack used earlier this week. It's less an attack on devolution and more a display of its limits as designed all those years ago. 

Scottish Labour MSPs might want to ask why their party specifically included a Westminster veto as part of that settlement – and why Gordon Brown's most recent constitutional review made no mention of scrapping it.

Or they could have a word with mealy-mouthed Anas Sarwar, who came out of hiding on Wednesday to call for a “grown-up” discussion on the gender recognition reforms – whatever that means.