THE Holyrood committee snubbed by Alister Jack after his use of a Section 35 order have now put their crucial questions to the Scottish Secretary via letter - but what did they ask?

The Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice committee invited Jack to attend last week after he blocked Scotland’s gender reforms from becoming law.

He insisted Kemi Badenoch, UK women’s and equalities minister, was the relevant person to give evidence, but she also refused to attend. A second bid by the Constitution committee to get Jack to face MSPs failed after he again refused to address their questions.

READ MORE: Rod Stewart calls Sky News LIVE to demand end of Tory government

The Tory MP refused to show up because of “potentially imminent court proceedings”, likely due to the Scottish Government’s insistence that they will “vigorously” contest the move and will seek a judicial review. However, the committee said it was unaware of any current live proceedings, so instead put members' questions to Jack in letter form.

Committee convener Joe FitzPatrick, SNP MSP Dundee City West, said they were “disappointed” they couldn’t clarify a number of points over the Scottish Secretary’s decision, with either him or Badenoch.

He added: “As a result, there are several areas relating to the bill and potential cross-Border conflict on which it would welcome clarification.

“Following deliberations, members agreed to write to you and to the Cabinet Secretary with a number of questions on which it would welcome a response.”

The National: Joe Fitzpatrick is the equalities committee convenerJoe Fitzpatrick is the equalities committee convener

What questions did the equalities committee have for Alister Jack?

THERE are a whopping 18 detailed questions from committee members contained in an annex to the letter sent to Jack by FitzPatrick on Wednesday night.

They range from a simple clarification for the use of a Section 35 order, into specific questions to Jack on issues like which part of the gender reform act would require alterations to the operation of single-sex spaces.

MSPs noted that Jack had only met with the Scottish Government once since invoking Section 35, and asked for any further planned dates and what will be discussed.

The letter also asked the UK Government if there had been any discussion on the use of Section 104 order, which means changes can be made to reserved legislation to reflect changes to laws in Scotland, and if this had been considered before a Section 35 order.

MSPs also want to find out if there is a way forward for the legislation without the Bill being amended.

READ MORE: Monarchy debate must not derail goal, independence supporters warned

“Have you explored the potential role and development of guidance in relation to implementation of the bill? What discussion have you had with the Scottish Government on this?” the letter reads.

They also set out key aspects of the bill,, such as self-identification, reducing the minimum age to 16, reducing the time period, the removal of proof of living in an acquired gender and replacing the Gender Recognition Panel with the Registrar General. They asked which amendments the Scottish Secretary thinks would be necessary to bring the bill in line with UK-wide law, as the UK Government has claimed this will have major implications.

MSPs requested Jack’s response to the numerous women’s rights groups in Scotland who have backed the bill, and also asked: “In your view, can two different gender recognition regimes ever exist in the UK?”

Jack was asked to give examples of different policy regimes operating in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK and what the implications are, adding: “With reference to paragraphs 26 and 27 of the statement of reasons which identifies the removal of medical diagnosis as leading to a ‘substantive change to what a man or a woman is for the purposes of the 2010 Act’, does the UK Government believe that there are any circumstances in which demedicalisation and self-declaration could be undertaken in Scotland that would not have such an effect?”

The National: Jack has now refused to attend two separate Holyrood committees to set out his reasoningJack has now refused to attend two separate Holyrood committees to set out his reasoning

Ireland, which has had self-identification in place for GRCs for the past six years, was also raised, and Jack asked if any discussions were had then about potential cross-Border issues with Northern Ireland.

“If not, why has the UK Government chosen to wait until Scotland updated the application process to raise concerns?” the letter continued.

MSPs also want to find out why the UK Government decided to consider updating the approved countries and territories list for the first time since 2011, an announcement made by Badenoch in the wake of the reforms passing.

The issue of the implication on tax and benefit systems was also raised, as the UK’s statement of reasons behind the use of a Section 35 cited concerns over IT infrastructure.

READ MORE: Did Nadhim Zahawi really pay a £1m tax penalty for being 'careless'?

The committee pointed out that an individual does not need a GRC or birth certificate as proof of identity when claiming Universal Credit. It cited estimates of between 300 and 550 people who may apply for GRC’s under the Scottish system, had it passed.

Members continued: “In either case, the numbers are small and at most would require the creation of 550 additional records.

“Can you therefore provide further clarification on what the practical consequences are on the administration of tax, benefit and State pensions and why they are significant?”

There were additional specific questions relating to the UK Government’s reasons, while one question asked: “Furthermore, as an individual can be excluded from a single-sex space on the basis of their gender reassignment, regardless of whether they have a GRC, what alteration do you believe the Bill will have on the operation of single-sex spaces?”

Will Alister Jack respond to the committee’s questions?

JACK will likely respond to Fitzpatrick’s letter, but whether he will answer the questions is still unclear.

It’s understood that the Scotland Office is declining to answer specifics on the issues due to the First Minister's insistence that the issue will “inevitably end up in court” and that it would therefore be inappropriate to comment in detail.

On the record, a UK Government spokesperson said: “Mr Jack will respond to the convener's letter in due course. He has already set out at length his reasons for making the Section 35 order. Any amended legislation would be a matter for the Scottish Government.”

You can read the letter in full here.