SNP figures fear Sturgeon has made the case against independence

Sturgeon clashes with reporter over independence questions

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A number of senior figures in the SNP fear that Nicola Sturgeon has undermined the case for independence by using the Scottish Parliament’s controversial Gender Recognition Reform Bill as a constitutional crisis. The UK Government used its powers for the first time this week to block legislation from Holyrood due to fears over the impact of the gender reform from Scotland to UK-wide equality laws.

Ms Sturgeon said the decision by Rishi Sunak’s government will “inevitably” end up in the Supreme Court with the Scottish Government challenging whether UK ministers have the power to veto it.

But Express.co.uk has learnt senior figures in the SNP have voiced disquiet about the issue, even though many people believe Ms Sturgeon wants a constitutional crisis to bolster the case for independence.

One senior SNP figure told Express.co.uk: “This has actually been counterproductive. This bill is not wanted by the majority of people in Scotland and it is not even supported by the majority of SNP members.

“This is not the issue to create a constitutional crisis over.

“In fact, [Sturgeon] is in danger of strengthening the Union by making the UK Government look like a safeguard which protects Scottish women instead.”

The controversial bill voted on by members of the Scottish Parliament has led to protests from women’s groups and led to public criticism by author J.K. Rowling and SNP MP Joanna Cherry.

Detractors are concerned it provides no safeguards in cases like a male rapist declaring he is female and then having the right to go to a women’s prison housing vulnerable women.

There are also concerns that 16-year-olds would be allowed to change their gender designation without the knowledge of their parents.

The debate in the Commons over blocking the legislation saw angry exchanges with supporters of the bill on the Labour benches heckling one of their own MPs Rosie Duffield who spoke in favour of the government’s actions.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack told the Commons the reforms would have an adverse impact on single-sex clubs, associations and schools and protections such as equal pay.

But Ms Sturgeon has described the UK government’s action as “a full frontal attack” on the Scottish Parliament.

However, it has also raised questions about her leadership with some within the party believing it is time for her to step aside for somebody else.

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