Welsh Secretary David TC Davies says he would not give Wales powers to simplify gender laws

One of Rishi Sunak's top cabinet ministers has said he would not give the Welsh Government the powers to simplify gender recognition laws.

Last week, the Welsh Government published its LGBTQ+ Action Plan, saying it will "trigger" a request and start negotiation with the UK government to devolve powers related to gender recognition to "support the Trans community".

Speaking on the issue during last night's ITV Wales' Sharp End programme, Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said, "I don't want to see the Welsh Government getting powers to do what they want to do which is to enable the most vulnerable people [...] the most vulnerable people that I can think of are female prisoners.

"It's not going to happen."

The Welsh Government said it would seek to devolve powers related to gender recognition Credit: Welsh Government

Under current devolution rules, only the UK Parliament can change the law on the issue in Wales but the government here said it would seek "devolved powers in relation to Gender Recognition".

"We had a prison governor come into the Welsh affairs select committee saying that over 90% had been the victims of physical or sexual abuse", Mr Davies said.

"The idea that somebody who is a male, somebody who has committed the act of rape, who is a male - and in the case of this person in Scotland, he is a he - should be put into a prison with vulnerable female prisoners is totally unacceptable and that should not be allowed."

Mr TC Davies was referring to the case of Isla Bryson who was taken to a female-only prison after being convicted of two rapes which took place when she was a man known as Adam Graham. She was later transferred to a prison on the male estate, understood to be HMP Edinburgh.

Scotland’s Justice Secretary announced a pause on its transgender prison rules after MSPs voiced anger at reports that prisoner Ms Scott’s request to move to the women’s estate had been rubber stamped.

Liz Saville Roberts, Jo Stevens and David TC Davies were questioned on Sharp End

Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts accused Mr TC Davies' comments as "bland populism" and said the issue needed to be approached with "compassion.

"This is amongst some of the most vulnerable people in the world" she said.

"Now this is something I have no experience of myself, I think as politicians, when you're dealing with a tiny minority of people, we should approach this with compassion and not allow it to become a political football in the way that it has."

In the government's LGBTQ+ Action Plan, Mark Drakeford said he wanted to "create a society where LGBTQ+ people feel safe to live and love authentically, openly, and freely as themselves".

The plan said it sets out to "improve the lives of, and outcomes for, LGBTQ+ people. It includes a wide range of policy-specific actions relating to human rights, education, improving safety, housing, health and social care, sport, culture, and promoting community cohesion."

Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn said, "Progress can and never should be taken for granted. LGBTQ+ communities remain under attack, with our hard-fought-for rights at risk of being rolled back around the world, including here in the UK.“