THE UK Government has said it will contest the Scottish Government’s challenge of the use of Section 35 to block gender reform from becoming law.

It comes after the SNP-Green government announced it would lodge a petition for a judicial review of Scottish Secretary Alister Jack's veto of the Gender Reform Recognition Bill.

The UK Government has suggested that it expects the court to grant permission for the judicial review to proceed – and said it will "robustly" defend itself in the wake of such a decision.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: This is the truth about the Section 35 challenge

The reform bill – which would have made it simpler for trans people to legally change their gender as well as lowering the age at which it can be done – was passed by a majority of MSPs in December.

Parliamentarians from every party backed the bill as it passed Holyrood by 86 votes to 39.

However, Scottish Secretary Jack stepped in in January, using his powers under Section 35 of the Scotland Act to prevent it from getting royal assent and becoming law.

In April, the Scottish Government confirmed it would mount a legal challenge against the top Tory MP's veto.

On Thursday, the Advocate General for Scotland, Keith Stewart, representing Jack, informed the Court of Session that they would contest that legal action.

The Tory government is understood to be leaving the question of whether the legal challenge can be heard to the courts, focusing instead on defending its case in the event of a hearing.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The UK Government will robustly defend the Secretary of State’s decision to prevent the Scottish Government's Gender Recognition Reform Bill from becoming law.

“We are clear that the proposed legislation would have an adverse effect on reserved matters, including on the operation of the law as it applies to Great Britain-wide equalities protections.”

For Section 35 of the Scotland Act to be legally used, the bill in question must both "modify the law as it applies to reserved matters", and give the Scottish Secretary "reasonable grounds to believe it would have an adverse effect on the operation of the law as it applies to reserved matters".