Politics class: Sunak in constitutional clash with Sturgeon over gender reform bill
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AQA Component 1, Section 18.104.22.168: Devolution: impact of devolution on government of the UK
Edexcel Component 2, Section 1.3: The role and powers of devolved bodies in the UK, and the impact of this devolution on the UK
Background: what you need to know
Rishi Sunak has become the first UK prime minister to block legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament. This is a proposal to make it easier for people legally to change their gender, allowing this at the age of 16. Sunak’s decision is based on the argument that the Scottish plan conflicts with UK-wide legislation on equality, which comes under the responsibility of Westminster.
He claims legal authority for his action under Section 35 of the 1998 Scotland Act, which created the devolution settlement. The episode has, however, served to inflame Scottish Nationalist opinion, which insists that the Edinburgh Parliament was within its rights in passing the transgender bill.
Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:
Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1
‘Devolution has failed to unify the component parts of the UK.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement
In your answer you should draw on material from across the whole range of your course of study in Politics. [25 marks]
Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2
Evaluate the argument that devolution has failed to unify the component parts of the UK
In your answer you should draw on relevant knowledge and understanding of the study of Component 1: UK politics and core political ideas. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]
TIP: The impact of minor parties in UK politics is a relevant topic that could be linked to either question. The rise of the SNP, which has been in government at Edinburgh since 2007 and has also gained strength at Westminster, has contributed to the conflicts around Scottish devolution.
Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School