SCOTTISH Labour leader Anas Sarwar believes the SNP leadership contest is a “reset opportunity” for the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. 

The comment came as Sir Keir Starmer said simplifying the process of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate in the rest of the UK was "not a priority for the Labour party."

The two men and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves were in Cumbernauld on Friday as the party steps up its pitch to Scottish voters ahead of the next general election.

However, there has been some disquiet after the UK party distanced itself from the Scottish party’s position on gender reform. 

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In the Holyrood vote before Christmas, 18 of Labour’s 22 MSPs backed the Bill. 

The legislation simplifies the process for obtaining a gender recognition certificate by removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, a process sometimes referred to as a self-id.

It also reduces the length of time someone would need to live in their acquired gender from two years to less than 12 months, and lowers the minimum age for applications from 18 to 16. 

However, the legislation was blocked by the UK Government because of concerns over the impact on the UK-wide Equality Act, and because it would create "two parallel and very different regimes" for issuing and interpreting Gender Recognition Certificates.

Sir Keir has previously said he has concerns about the legislation, despite Scottish Labour's support. 

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Asked during the visit if he would pursue self-id, he said: “It's not a priority for the Labour Party. I've made absolutely clear what my priorities are: the five missions that I set out.

"We will inherit a very badly damaged United Kingdom, a badly damaged economy. Public Services absolutely on their knees, if not on their face, and living standards that have been at best stagnant for well over a decade here in Scotland, across the United Kingdom. 

“So I'm very clear what my priorities are going into government.”

The Section 35 has become one of the dominant issues of the SNP leadership contest. Humza Yousaf has said he will challenge the decision, while Kate Forbes has said she will wait and see what the legal advice says. 

Ash Regan has said she won't back any court action as the Scottish Government would lose.

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Mr Sarwar said the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon was a “reset opportunity” for the entire debate.  

“I think if we're being honest with ourselves, nobody feels like they've won. 

“Everybody feels like they've lost. I don't think anyone in our trans community feels like they're any more protected since the passing of the GRR Bill. 

“And I don't think any of the women that had legitimate concerns feel any more protected or reassured since the passing of the bill. 

“And I think a new leader is an opportunity to reset and to try and change the way this is going. So we can find the consensus way forward, rather than pitting community against community.”

Sir Keir said the SNP's leadership contest was proof the party had "run out of road."

"It was in a cul de sac, it has now completely stopped. And that means that the argument about change in Scotland is no longer an argument that belongs anywhere near the SNP."

Mr Sarwar said he didn't fear any of the three candidates vying for the leadership: "I'll take any of them on. The other point to make is I have profound disagreements with Nicola Sturgeon.

"I don't agree with her politics. I don't share her politics I've been battling on the frontline of politics with her for over a decade. But I think even the most ardent SNP supporter would accept that none of these candidates are of the calibre of Nicola Sturgeon."