KEMI Badenoch has declined a Scottish Parliament committee's invitation to give evidence on the UK Government's decision to block gender reforms from becoming law.

It follows Scottish Secretary Alister Jack's snub of the committee, where the Tory MP told MSPs that Badenoch, as women's and equalities minister, would be the politician who should give evidence.

However, Badenoch, after missing the initial deadline to confirm her attendance, has now declined to appear. 

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It comes as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Jack and Badenoch should "have the guts" to defend their decision in the Scottish Parliament. 

Joe FitzPatrick, Convener of the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee said: "I am bitterly disappointed that neither the Secretary of State for Scotland or Minister for Women and Equalities will be able to attend our meeting tomorrow.

"We had hoped to better understand the reasons for the issuing of a Section 35 Order in relation to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. The Committee will consider its next steps at its meeting."

Last week, we told how Jack had declined an invite from the committee, which the SNP branded an "absolute disgrace".

Jack said it wasn't his "job" to appear before the equalities committee and said Badenoch was the appropriate minister to invite.

The committee, therefore, extended an invite to Badenoch last week but had radio silence from the UK Government over the weekend.

She missed the Friday deadline to confirm to clerks whether or not she should appear and confirmed on Monday afternoon that she would not be attending. 

Emma Roddick, SNP MSP, said that the move was a "disgraceful insult" to the Scottish Parliament.

She added: "Two members of the Tory UK Government have now snubbed invitations to appear at Holyrood to explain why they have chosen to veto a bill overwhelmingly passed by MSPs.

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"All Tory talk of compromise is entirely disingenuous. This is a purely political decision and an illustration of the contempt they hold for Scottish democracy.

"As much as the Tories hate it, devolution is not about what Westminster thinks is acceptable, it is about the right of the Scottish Parliament to pass laws that best meet the needs of the people who live here."

Roddick said the Westminster Tories' actions should be of "huge concern" to anyone who supports the Scottish Parliament's ability to legislate in devolved matters. 

"Democracy must be protected," she added. 

“This full-frontal attack on democracy - using trans people as a weapon – confirms that the Tories are hellbent on dismantling devolution and the only way to protect the people of Scotland from Westminster control and to get rid of the Tories for good is through independence.”

The National: Chapman said the move by Badenoch shows 'contempt' for the Scottish ParliamentChapman said the move by Badenoch shows 'contempt' for the Scottish Parliament

Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman said Badenoch's refusal to appear showed "shameful arrogance" and "contempt" for the Scottish Parliament and trans people. 

She said: "Last week's decision was never about the law, it was a blatant political attack on a marginalised community which has already been scapegoated, smeared and demonised by Downing Street.

"The fact that Alister Jack could not bring himself to speak to the committee says everything we need to know about him. For Badenoch to do the same shows the same cowardice.

"They are running from scrutiny and from democracy. Tory cabinet ministers have a history of refusing to speak to Scottish Parliament committees."

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Chapman pointed out that Rishi Sunak, when he took over after the disastrous premiership of Liz Truss, spoke about the UK and Scottish Parliament's "working together". 

"The actions of his government in the last week betray how utterly hollow that statement was," she added.

The Equality Network, who supported the reforms, wrote on social media: "The UK Government vetoed the GRR Bill, with an order that objects to all significant parts of the bill

"They say that the Scottish Parliament can amend the bill to allow lifting the section 35 order, but refuse to meet with the Scottish Parliament to discuss what changes they want...

"... this amounts to treating the Scottish Parliament, and trans people, with contempt."