SECTION 35 is a power clearly contained in the Scotland Act, and you do not need a crystal ball, as Peter Thomson claims (Letters, Apr 17), to see the opposition of the majority of the people of Scotland to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

One of the most detailed polls conducted into the proposed legislation was the Savanta ComRes poll, which showed among other things that people have different ideas of what gender reassignment means. Only 31% of respondents admitted to following the debate closely, and only 28% thought those who had not had surgery should be able to access single-sex spaces. In December last year a YouGov poll showed only 20% support for removing a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

The GRR Bill went through a deeply undemocratic process, with a preponderance of pro-trans MSPs in committee, and pro-trans views taken at committee. Opponents were shouted down and women threatened, with 150 proposed amendments brushed aside without time to consider them, then MSPs whipped to support it.

READ MORE: Whatever your view on the GRR Bill, blocking it is undemocratic

Many people do not give “a fig” about the GRR and its ramifications because the government brought it in under the radar while we thought they were working on independence. To conflate the use of s35 with a full-scale assault on devolution is ludicrous, and there is no “clearly malicious intent” in invoking it once in 24 years. Other pieces of legislation are clear assaults on devolution, like the Internal Market Act, but Alister Jack did not block the GRR “simply because he could”, but because the Scottish Government was overstepping its remit.

Many women are glad that the Secretary of State did intervene. What was the alternative? The SNP government of the “feminist to her fingertips” has advanced the rights of men to declare they are women, but has actively worked to diminish women’s rights. Women were omitted from the Hate Crime Bill, only covered if we double-qualify as “older women”, “religious women” and so on. Drag queens have more rights than we do.

We will possibly get a misogyny bill at some point, but this has been promised for more than a year and not yet appeared. The government said GRR did not do away with single-sex spaces, but by attempting to redefine what qualifies as a “woman” in fact it did so. The Scottish Government’s repetition of the mantra “transwomen are women” undermines women, as do requests for civil servants to list their pronouns, and politicians’ readiness to do so, and references to “cis” women! And the government’s peddling of gender identity ideology in education has given us a generation of young people whose heads are minced.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: The truth about the Section 35 challenge

The Scottish Government is now using scarce money to challenge the perfectly lawful use of Section 35. Why? Is it to deflect from its appalling record on health, ferries, education, the road network, or the SNP’s current implosion?

If women had been listened to, this hated legislation would not have passed and no Section 35 order would have been needed. But repealing it would take years and have no guarantee of success.

Why is gender reform the overriding priority for the SNP and Greens, so important that it was legislated for before a second independence referendum? Poverty, roads, ferries, the health service and energy are what worry people. The Scottish Government needs to return to its core value of promoting independence rather than undermining both women and independence through this shoddy piece of extremely unpopular legislation.

Julia Pannell
Friockheim, Tayside