THERESA May has intervened over Rishi Sunak’s threat to block Scotland’s new Gender Recognition Reform law.

The former prime minister said her successor needed to think about the “impact it would have on people.”

Mr Sunak confirmed on Friday that the UK government was assessing the impact of the new legislation - passed by Holyrood on Thursday - which simplifies the process for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC) by removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria. 

Within minutes of MSPs voting by 86-39 in favour of the Gender Recognition Reform Bill Scottish secretary, Alister Jack, said he could invoke - for the first time in the history of devolution - section 35 of the Scotland Act, which allows him to prevent the Presiding Office from submitting the legislation for Royal Assent. 

While gender recognition is devolved to Holyrood, the Equality Act - which the new law will interact with – is reserved to Westminster.

Mr Sunak, speaking on Friday during a visit to a homeless shelter in London, said: “Lots of people have got concerns about this new bill in Scotland, about the impact it will have on women’s and children’s safety.

“So I think it is completely reasonable for the UK government to have a look at it, understand what the consequences are for women and children’s safety in the rest of the UK, and then decide on what the appropriate course of action is.”

The Scottish Government has said they will "vigorously" contest any attempts by the UK Government to block the bill.

Speaking to the BBC’s PM programme, Ms May said she was disappointed that similar changes to gender recognition laws were not being considered in England.

During her time in office, the ex-Tory leader had promised to streamline and demedicalise the process for obtaining a GRC, but with no majority in the Commons, a reliance on the socially conservative DUP to prop up her government, and Brexit battles dominating her final months in power, the plans were never enthusiastically pursued. 

Speaking on Monday, Ms May told the BBC: “The very fact that I put the proposal forward shows that that was something that I thought was important to do, particularly to take some of the medical aspects out of this,” she said.

“But the Government has looked again at it and has taken the decision that it has.”

On the constitutional issues raised by the Scottish legislation, she said: “We have different legal systems.

“Obviously, there’s a different system in Scotland, but I think it is important when any part of the UK is looking at legislation that only affects that part of the UK, that thought is given to what the impact would be on the Union.

“But at the end of the day it is about people, and it’s about the impact it would have on people.”

Ms May also said there was "no doubt" that Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng's mini-budget had "an impact on the Conservative Party’s reputation for sound money and sound public finances."

She added: “But I think what we’ve seen already with the new Chancellor and a new Prime Minister is taking the process of re-establishing that reputation.

“And I think from everything we’ve seen from Rishi so far, that actually he’s going to be able to turn that round by the next election.

“I see that we can in those two years show people that a Conservative government can be on their side and that he can turn it round and we can win that election.”

If Mr Sunak does trigger a section 35, it is likely the Scottish Government will then seek a judicial review.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland last Friday, Scottish Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison promised to defend the legislation.

“The Bill as passed is absolutely within legislative competence and of course was backed by an overwhelming majority with support from all parties,” she said on BBC Radio Scotland on Friday.

“I think any attempt by the UK Government to undermine what is, after all, the democratic will of the Scottish Parliament, it will be vigorously contested by the Scottish Government.”