UK election 2024 –…

UK election 2024 - devolved policies in the manifestos

The UK Parliament election is on 4th July. This page summarises what is in the main parties’ manifestos relating to matters that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament. This means that law and policy for Scotland in these areas is usually decided not by Westminster and the UK Government, but by Holyrood and the Scottish Government. The next Holyrood election is not until 2026.

The manifesto commitments below will apply to England, and in some cases Wales, but not directly to Scotland. But they do give an indication of the parties’ overall approaches to LGBTI+ equality. Please note that the specifically Scottish parties (the SNP and Scottish Greens) have generally speaking not made commitments in these areas, because those commitments would not apply to Scotland.

Parties’ commitments on matters that are reserved to Westminster will directly affect Scotland, and we have listed those here.

You can find links to the parties’ complete manifestos, here.

For each policy area here, the parties are listed in alphabetical order. We have only listed commitments that are clearly related to LGBTI+ equality, so not every party has an entry under every policy area. We are aware that, in addition to what is in the manifestos, party leaders and other representatives have spoken to the media about LGBTI+ issues. We have only included manifesto contents here. If you have any query about the content of this page, please email us at en@equality-network.org

Ending conversion practices

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government (an SNP/Green coalition at the time) consulted on proposals for a bill to end conversion practices in Scotland, covering sexual orientation and gender identity. We don’t know when the bill will be brought to the Scottish Parliament.

The Conservative manifesto says:

Attempts at so-called ‘conversion therapy’ are abhorrent. But legislation around conversion practices is a very complex issue, with existing criminal law already offering robust protections. The challenges involved can be seen, for example, with the SNP re-consulting for views on their proposals in Scotland [Equality Network: this is not true – there is no ‘re-consultation’] and Sweden recently concluding that they will not be pursuing a similar ban. In light of the Cass Review Final Report, it is right that we take more time before reaching a final judgement on additional legislation in this area.

The Labour manifesto says:

So-called conversion therapy is abuse – there is no other word for it – so Labour will finally deliver a full trans-inclusive ban on conversion practices, while protecting the freedom for people to explore their sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto says:

We will ban all forms of conversion therapies and practices.

The Scottish Green manifesto says:

The Scottish Greens have led the way on […] progressing a real ban on conversion practices for LGBTQIA+ people, which try to change or suppress someone’s sexuality or gender identity.

Gender recognition reform

In 2022, the then SNP/Green coalition Scottish Government introduced a comprehensive Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, based on self-declaration, which was passed by a large majority of the Scottish Parliament, including all Green and LibDem MSPs, most Labour and SNP MSPs, and some Conservative MSPs. But the Conservative UK Government used a power (never used before) in the Scotland Act to block the bill from becoming law. At present it remains blocked, and cannot proceed unless the UK Government were to lift the block.

The Alba manifesto says:

We remain steadfast in our opposition to any attempts by either Government to impose gender self identification in law, policy, and guidance. Our clear position, underpinned by public opinion, is rooted in the profound consequences and implications for society, particularly the risks to the safety, privacy, and dignity of women and girls.

The ALBA Party remains committed to a competent Government and calls on the Scottish Government to learn from its bruising judicial review experience and consult widely on legislation to avoid costly humiliation later in the courts. ALBA believes that the electorate will not forgive Labour and the SNP for any attempt to bring gender self-id into law in Scotland or the UK to appease ideologically driven lobby groups.

The Conservative manifesto says:

We are clear that on fundamental matters of personal identity there should be one approach across the country, so we will also legislate so that an individual can only have one sex in the eyes of the law in the United Kingdom. [Equality Network: this means removing from the Scottish Parliament the power to amend gender recognition law]

The Labour manifesto says:

We will also modernise, simplify, and reform the intrusive and outdated gender recognition law to a new process. We will remove indignities for trans people who deserve recognition and acceptance; whilst retaining the need for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a specialist doctor, enabling access to the healthcare pathway.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto says:

Reform the gender recognition process to remove the requirement for medical reports, recognise non-binary identities in law, and remove the spousal veto.

The Scottish Green manifesto says:

The overarching veto power on Scottish Parliament legislation has meant that transgender people have had their hopes for a more caring gender recognition process crushed by a UK Government intent on waging culture wars against vulnerable groups.

And

Cancelling the undemocratic block on Scotland’s gender recognition reforms. A majority of the Scottish Parliament, including MSPs from all parties, supported making it easier and less intrusive for transgender people to get legal recognition of their gender identity, but this has been blocked by the UK Government. Greens will be calling on the new Secretary of State for Scotland to immediately allow the legislation to proceed.

Hate crime

In 2021, the then SNP Scottish Government’s Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament. It came into effect earlier in 2024, and covers hate crime including on grounds of sexual orientation, transgender identity, and variations of sex characteristics, as well as age, disability, race and religion.

The Labour manifesto says:

Labour will protect LGBT+ and disabled people by making all existing strands of hate crime an aggravated offence.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto says:

Stand up to hatred by exposing and confronting the stereotyping, demagoguery and hate speech in public life and the media that inflames hatred and leads to spikes in hate crimes.

The Reform manifesto says:

Change the Definition of Hate Crime

The CPS and police definition of a hate crime has led to systemic bias. Members of the British public must not be investigated because ‘any’ person ‘perceives’ that a hate crime has been committed.

Education

In Scotland, we have an LGBT-inclusive education policy and programme, supported by the Scottish Government and by MSPs across the parties.

The Alba manifesto says:

Ensure health, education, and legislation is Cass Compliant.

The Conservative manifesto says:

Guarantee the contested concept of gender identity is not taught to children.

And

In recent years, an increasing number of children have started questioning their gender, the consequences of which are still unknown. This is why we will pass legislation to ensure schools must follow our guidance for teachers on how best to support gender questioning students in schools and colleges. Parents will have a right to know if their child wants to be treated as the opposite sex and schools will have to involve parents when it comes to decisions about their children.

The Reform manifesto says:

Ban Transgender Ideology in Primary and Secondary Schools

No gender questioning, social transitioning or pronoun swapping. Inform parents of under 16s about their children’s life decisions. Schools must have single sex facilities.

The health service

The Alba manifesto says:

Support the Cass Review’s implementation immediately and in full in all areas relevant to Scotland.

Support high-quality, evidence-based care for children and young people.

Ensure health, education, and legislation is Cass Compliant.

The Conservative manifesto says:

We will complete the implementation of the Cass Review, protecting young people questioning their gender from ideologically driven care and ensuring that NHS services follow evidence-based best practice.

And

We will amend the NHS Constitution so that it recognises every patient’s right to request single-sex accommodation and same-sex intimate care. We will not allow the word ‘woman’ to be erased by health services. Words such as ‘breastfeeding’ and ‘mother’ will not be replaced by ‘chestfeeding’ and ‘birthing parent’.

The Labour manifesto says:

We will work to implement the expert recommendations of the Cass Review to ensure that young people presenting to the NHS with gender dysphoria are receiving appropriate and high-quality care.

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