HUMZA Yousaf has said he would drop his legal challenge of the blocking of the Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) Bill if he is advised that the government would lose.

Yousaf had previously insisted that he would fight the UK Government in court over the Section 35 order issued in January to block Scotland’s gender reforms.

But on Times Radio on Tuesday – in what is expected to be the final debate in the SNP leadership race – Yousaf said: “Obviously, we will take legal advice in the round – you have to do that. 

“If you get an unequivocal answer from your Lord Advocate that says this cannot be won, you would do the responsible thing and not take that to court.”

Yousaf went on to say it was “about the starting principles”, which was about protecting devolution as Westminster would just continue to use Section 35 of the Scotland Act to block legislation.

The National:

Fellow leadership hopeful Kate Forbes has previously pledged to amend the legislation to ensure it cannot be blocked again by Westminster. She said on Tuesday: “The point when it comes to this legislation is that the legal advice really does matter, so I’m not spoiling for a fight for the sake of it.”

She added: “We can either go to court against legal advice and spending money that could be used elsewhere in a cost-of-living crisis, or we can take that legal advice and make the decision on the back of that.

“If there is no alternative to court, I’ll go to court, but I think there is an alternative to court.”

Forbes previously said she would have voted against the Bill if she had not been on maternity leave, but went on to say she actually agrees with reforming the Gender Recognition Act.

Ash Regan, one of the gender bill’s fiercest critics in government, said that any court challenge would fail. During the debate, she said: “I don’t think that shows us standing up to the UK Government. I think that is something that you want to do for things where you have the public behind you.”

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On BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Wednesday, Yousaf also spoke about Scotland’s gender recognition reforms, talking down suggestions that the party’s stance could have cost it members.

In fact, he instead said the SNP may have gathered “a lot of support” as a result.

He said: “I don’t doubt that for a minute, particularly amongst some of our younger members, who have told me as much.”