HUMZA Yousaf is expected to announce legal action against the UK Government this week after it blocked legislation which would have made it easier for people to change their legal gender.

During his leadership campaign, Yousaf said he would challenge Scottish Secretary Alister Jack’s unprecedented use of a legal order which prevented the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from becoming law.

The First Minister was the sole candidate in the race who backed legal action, with Kate Forbes supporting a compromise while Ash Regan wanted court action ruled out.

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The Scottish Government has until mid-April to lodge a judicial review with Yousaf telling journalists outside Bute House that there would be an announcement on the challenge “imminently”.

“I made it abundantly clear in the course of the leadership contest that my starting principle is to challenge the Westminster veto over the GRR Bill.

“As you can imagine I have been having intense conversations in that regard”, he told reporters at a press briefing on Thursday.

“And I will be making an announcement on the particular challenge of the Section 35 order imminently given that deadline.

Yousaf also stressed his continued commitment to the Bute House Agreement for the remainder of the current parliament, which will sit until 2026.

The National: Alister Jack blocked Scotland's gender legislationAlister Jack blocked Scotland's gender legislation (Image: PA)

He said: “Yes, we are committed to it. There is a review mechanism in it and we will keep the Bute House Agreement under regular review.

“We are committed to it, and not just committed to it, our party membership, when it was put to a vote, those of whom voted, 95% of them endorsed the Bute House Agreement.”

The legislation on gender reform was backed by an overwhelming majority of MSPs from across the political spectrum.

It was then blocked by Westminster over concerns that the legislation would undermine the Equality Act.

The deadline for launching a judicial review into the veto is April 17, shortly after the Scottish Parliament returns from its Easter recess which runs until April 16.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The Secretary of State for Scotland made an order under Section 35 of the Scotland Act 1998, preventing the Scottish Parliament’s Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from proceeding to Royal Assent.

“This was done after thorough and careful consideration of all the relevant advice and the policy implications.

“This legislation would have an adverse effect on the operation of Great Britain-wide equalities protections and other reserved matters.”