KEIR Starmer has been urged to rule out working with Scottish ministers to revive gender reform legislation.

Ash Regan, the former SNP MSP who defected to Alba in October, has urged the UK Labour leader to clarify “beyond doubt” that he will not seek to unblock the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from becoming law, if he becomes prime minister.

It comes as the Scottish Government confirmed it will drop an appeal against a court ruling approving the UK Government’s use of a Section 35 order of the Scotland Act to block the bill from achieving royal assent due to its divergence from reserved equality laws.

Scottish ministers now face a potentially hefty court expense after Scottish Secretary Alister Jack confirmed he will pursue legal costs.

READ MORE: Failure to appeal block on Scottish gender reform 'sets bad precedent'

On Wednesday, Scottish Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said her Government will not withdraw the bill, and will instead be open to working with a “future” UK government to progress the legislation.

But Regan, who is Alba’s first and only MSP and its Holyrood leader, told Starmer: “I urge you to clarify, beyond doubt, your position on this important issue.

“If you are the next UK prime minister, would your government agree with the Scottish Government that it will unblock the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from receiving royal assent – and in doing so, become law?

“I would strongly urge you to make it clear that Labour will reject any such bid by the Scottish Government, and so to put a stop now to the Scottish Government’s failure to learn from its mistakes here, to the detriment of all involved.

“The women of Scotland, and all that value the privacy, dignity and safety of women and girls, await your response.”

The National: Starmer

Starmer has previously said he did not believe a system of self-identification – which, under the bill, would see transgender people legally able to identify as their chosen gender without a medical diagnosis – was the “right way forward”.

However, he has publicly stated he wants to “modernise” the transitioning process, while ensuring safe spaces are maintained for women.

Scottish Labour, however, supported the de-medicalisation of the process.

Regan quit her ministerial post in October 2022 over concerns about the bill, before announcing her candidacy for SNP leader in February 2023. She came third behind First Minister Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes.

The bill passed through Holyrood with cross-party support following a two-day marathon session, before it was blocked by the UK Government – a decision ruled lawful by the Court of Session earlier this month.