SNP manifesto demands ‘full devolution’ on equality law

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The Scottish National Party has published a manifesto which demands equality laws be “fully devolved” to Scotland.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched the party’s 2017 manifesto at an event today, ahead of next week’s snap election.

The document repeats the party’s demands for equality issues to become a fully devolved matter.

At present, some equality issues such as same-sex marriage are devolved, but much of equality law is dealt with on a UK-wide basis.

Nicola Sturgeon

The manifesto says: “SNP MPs will continue to demand full devolution of equality law to the Scottish Parliament.

“Until that happens we will seek equality law reforms to ensure same-sex couples have equal pension rights and protected characteristics are expanded to ensure all LGBTI people are fully protected from discrimination and harassment.”

The party also pledged to support changes to laws surrounding transgender people.

It said: “The SNP Scottish Government is committed to reviewing and reforming gender recognition laws, in line with international best practice.

“SNP MPs will press the UK government to match the Scottish Government’s commitment to legislation within this parliament.”

The document also apes a Labour Party pledge to support the creation of an LGBT rights envoy.

It says: “SNP MPs will support the establishment of a special envoy to promote the rights of LGBTI people throughout the world, as an integral part of UK foreign policy – helping to alleviate the discrimination and persecution faced by LGBTI people in Chechnya and across the world.”

The party also calls for stronger protections for LGBT asylum seekers.

It says: “There needs to be reform to the detention and asylum system for LGBTI individuals escaping countries where homosexuality is still criminalised, removing unfair and invasive demands for ‘proof’ of sexuality or gender identity.”

The manifesto also calls for a change to equality law which would allow male employees to choose to wear female uniforms, and vice versa.

It says: “[Our MPs] will vote for a change in the Equality Act to strengthen and change the law that currently allows employers to have different dress codes for men and women.”