The Telegraph 2024-02-18 22:30:22


Woman arrested on suspicion of murder after three children found dead in Bristol

Three young children were found dead in a home in Bristol on Saturday evening and a 42-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Avon and Somerset Police confirmed the woman, who is believed to be of Sudanese origin, was being held in police custody at a hospital.

The force said officers responded to a welfare call in the suburb of Sea Mills that was made at 12:40am.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said the children were a boy aged around eight, a girl aged approximately four, and a baby boy of about six months.

The two older children are believed to have attended the local Sea Mills Primary School.

The woman is said to have lived in Bristol since 2017.

Her husband, also believed to be Sudanese, lived with the family, according to the neighbour, but it is not known if he was in the property at the time.

The neighbour said: “She was so happy when she had that little boy. We were so happy for her, we came round and gave gifts. I’m very surprised because she was really gentle, really lovely.

“She always had a smile on her face. After the baby, she was having a really hard time.”

A 42-year-old local taxi driver said he had last seen the mother and her three children two weeks ago.

“She was happy. Her kids were all happy. She is a very nice person. It is very sad.”

The police watchdog confirmed the force had been in contact with the family earlier this month.

Neighbourhood Chief Inspector Vicks Hayward-Melen said: “This is an incredibly tragic and heart-breaking incident in which three children have sadly died.

“My sincere condolences go to the children’s loved ones and we will be ensuring they are offered support through our family liaison unit.

“We believe this to be an isolated incident and there is no further risk to the wider community, however officers will remain at the scene to provide reassurance to anyone who has any questions or concerns.”

A spokesman for the Independent Office for Police Conduct said yesterday: “We were notified this afternoon about this tragic incident in Bristol by Avon and Somerset Police, who advised us that there had been prior police contact earlier this month.

“We have requested a paper referral with further information about the prior contact and once received, we will assess it to determine whether further action is required from us.”

Local church gathering

Darren Jones, the Labour MP for Bristol North West said: “I’m deeply saddened by this tragic news from Sea Mills today.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of the children, and my thanks go to our emergency services who responded.”

A gathering at a local church was held in memory of the children on Sunday evening.

Uniformed officers were seen making house-to-house inquiries in nearby properties.

Sea Mills Primary School said it would be closed on Monday morning and re-open at 1.30pm. A local playgroup also announced it would be closed.

“Our hearts go out to the family and their friends, neighbours, school friends and wider community,” a statement from Sea Mills Community Playgroup read.

What went wrong in Britain’s ‘most depressing’ town

A seaside resort with a thriving cultural scene, a string of Blue Flag beaches, and beautiful countryside for miles around: welcome to Falmouth, the most depressing town in the UK.

This surprising and unwanted accolade has arrived thanks to a poll by ilivehere.com, a website on which users can submit reviews – generally humorous and usually negative – of the places in which they live.

The historic port on Cornwall’s south coast was a surprise entry to this year’s list of the country’s 20 gloomiest towns and cities, but a late surge saw it rocket to the number one spot, beating perennial butt-of-the-joke places such as Peterborough (second), Luton (11th) and Swindon (13th).

The number one ranking has left many in Cornwall baffled, and even the poll’s organisers seemed a little taken aback by the shock result.

“We have to admit, we know absolutely nothing about Falmouth,” the ilivehere.com team admitted. “We Googled it and it looks picturesque – but we’re sure it’s a facade it trades on, and who are we to question the wisdom of the crowd?”

I visited this week to get to the bottom of the mystery. Falmouth admittedly wasn’t looking its best on a grey February morning, but even in the winter drizzle I couldn’t see much to dampen the spirits. Rows of pretty, pastel-hued Victorian terraces tumbled down a steep hill towards The Moor, the town’s lively main square, which was lined with bustling cafés, restaurants, pubs and shops.

One shopkeeper, Julianne, laughed at the notion of Falmouth being considered in any way depressing. “Everybody’s talking about it, as you can imagine,” she said. “It’s ridiculous. I’ve only lived here five years, and compared to where I lived before it’s wonderful.”

Reviews on ilivehere.com pointed to holiday crowds, second-home owners and the proliferation of Airbnbs, turning an authentic port into a “socially cleansed fishing theme park for DFLs [Down From Londons]”. I asked Julianne how these issues had affected the mood in the town.

“That is a problem, but it’s not depressing,” she replied. “Those of us who live here love it all the same, and if you’re visiting then presumably it’s because you also find the town attractive.”

Taking my leave, I turned onto the busy high street that wends its way along the waterfront. Here and there, narrow “opes” (alleyways) lead down to the quayside, from where you can look out at the broad expanse of Carrick Roads, the deep natural harbour where, centuries ago, ships used to gather before sailing for North America in convoy. It was down one of these where I met David and Pamela, who had travelled into town for the day from their home on the Lizard. They were incredulous at the poll’s results, although they did also raise concerns that Falmouth had entered a period of decline.

“It’s going downhill, that’s for certain,” they told me. “Walking down the high street, there are a lot of shops that are empty or look very run down, with their signs falling off. There are a lot of students here and they’ve had a very positive impact. But if you’re a student, you don’t have very much money to spend.”

Both were more sanguine about holidaymakers, who they felt contributed a lot to the town financially, although they did note that it was sad to look across at night-time and see so few lights.

As I continued down the main strip towards the Church of King Charles the Martyr (Falmouth has traditionally leant towards the Royalist cause), I couldn’t help but notice a number of boarded-up shop fronts. It hinted at troubled times for local traders, although by most measures the town’s commerce seemed exceptionally healthy. There were plenty of shoppers dipping in and out of doorways, with a pleasing mix of high street chains and independent retailers. There was a welcome lack of pound shops and pawnbrokers too.

Towards the edge of the main shopping area, beside the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, I stopped in at Pysk, a family-run fishmonger. From behind a counter lined with haddock, mackerel and squid, co-owner Giles admitted he had not heard about Falmouth’s new status, and was sceptical when I offered the theory that second homes were the root cause of the issue.

“It’s an odd result,” he said. “I can name half a dozen places close by that are far worse, with way more second homes too. St Mawes is dead in winter, but Falmouth is lively all year round thanks to the students.”

Since 2005, Falmouth has been home to the only independent university in Cornwall, and recent years have seen students become integral to the town’s social fabric. With an enrollment of around 6,500, they make up a sizable portion of the population, which across Falmouth and neighbouring Penryn sits at roughly 30,000. Some fear, however, that all those students, coupled with demand for second homes and holiday lets, is creating a housing crisis – with locals pushed to the fringes by rising property prices.

With lunchtime approaching, I wandered across to the south side of town where, overlooking the shoreline, elegant Edwardian hotels sit cheek by jowl with gleaming luxury apartment complexes.

Down on Gyllyngvase Beach, dogs raced up and down the shoreline as their owners paced along behind, huddling into their waterproofs. It was here that I encountered Chris, as he attempted to steer his small terrier away from a family of holidaymakers enjoying pasties. Asked why he thought Falmouth had received so many votes, he suggested wilful self-sabotage.

“I think it’s a ruse, and some on social media have decided to use this poll to intentionally damage Falmouth’s reputation and stop people moving here,” he said. 

“I’ve lived all around and can safely say that Falmouth is lush, but at the same time there are a lot of families who can’t afford to live here. It’s far worse in some of the villages outside town though. St Mawes, Flushing, Maenporth… they’ve all been gutted.”

I took the scenic route back towards the town centre, following the coast around Pendennis Point and skirting the castle built by Henry VIII to guard against marauding French privateers. I bumped into Tamara and her spaniel, Jake. The Falmouth native acknowledged that the town has its fair share of problems. Like David and Pamela, she observed that there had been a lack of economic growth in recent years, coupled with a decline in community cohesion.

“Some of my neighbours are second home owners, and they’re lovely and contribute a lot to the town when they’re here,” she said. “But there are whole streets that have been taken over by student housing or holiday lets. It’s inevitable that a lack of community will come from that lack of permanency.”

Like others, though, she laughed off the idea that anyone could seriously consider this part of Cornwall to be genuinely depressing. “It has an awful lot to offer really: good beaches, fantastic pubs, lots of really great places to eat and a really diverse mix of people.” 

She glanced up at the grey skies, before adding: “The weather could be better though.” 

Navalny’s body found bruised in Arctic morgue

The bruised body of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, has been found in a hospital morgue in the Arctic, two days after he died in a nearby prison.

A paramedic told Russian opposition media that there were bruises on Navalny’s head and chest when his body was brought into the Salekhard District Clinical Hospital.

“Such injuries, described by those that saw them, appear from seizures,” the unnamed paramedic told the exiled Novaya Gazeta newspaper.

“The person convulses, they try to restrain him, and bruises appear. They also said that he also had a bruise on his chest. That is, they still tried to resuscitate him, and he died, most likely, from cardiac arrest.”

Russian prison officials said that Navalny died on Friday after falling ill during a short walk at IK-3, a notoriously brutal prison in the Russian Arctic.

Navalny’s mother failed to find his body at the morgue in Salekhard on Saturday and his colleagues at the Anti-Corruption Foundation accused the Russian authorities of a cover-up.

Reporters said no autopsy had yet been performed. They also said that two unscheduled flights from Moscow had landed on Saturday at Salekhard, possibly with autopsy specialists.

“The first jet landed at about six in the evening. It was met by cars of the Investigative Committee. And the second one arrived an hour and a half later,” Novaya Gazeta quoted an unnamed source as saying.

Russia observers said that state autopsy specialists may have been flown in from Moscow so that they can deliver a death certificate that pleases the Kremlin.

They also said that it was unusual to send the body of a dead prisoner from IK-3 to the hospital morgue, as Navalny’s had been, rather than the municipal one.

Navalny was Vladimir Putin’s most serious opponent. Western leaders have accused the Kremlin of murdering him. He was facing three decades in prison on various charges and had been transferred to IK-3 shortly before Christmas.

David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, said on Sunday that Putin should face war crimes charges for the death of Navalny.

“I’d like to see Putin in front of that special tribunal, held to account for all of his crimes, not just in Ukraine, but as we are seeing just in the last 48 hours in Russia as well,” he told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg programme on Sunday.

The sudden death of Navalny shocked liberal-minded Russians and triggered rare protests in Russia where demonstrations against the Kremlin are banned.

OVD-Info, a Russian activist group that monitors the Russian police, said that 400 people had been detained across Russia, mainly for laying flowers for Navalny at memorials to Soviet repression.

Reports from across Russia said that the plain-clothes security services, often wearing surgical masks, were following people who had laid flowers. Different police forces appeared to respond differently, with some blocking access to memorial sites and others tearing them down.

These were the biggest nationwide protests in Russia against the authorities since September 2022, when Putin ordered a mobilisation to recruit soldiers for his war in Ukraine.

Analysts said that the timing of Navalny’s death is important for the Kremlin which wants to use a presidential election next month to showcase support for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

Ben Noble and Nikolai Petrov, both Fellows on the Russia Programme at Chatham House, said that the death of Navalny had undermined Russia’s beleaguered, fragmented and exiled opposition.

“There is no obvious figure to take up the role that Navalny crafted for himself, of Vladimir Putin’s main opponent. There will be no Navalny 2.0 in the short-term, at least,” they said.

On Sunday Navalny’s wife, Yulia, posted a new picture of the two of them together on social media, writing “I love you”.

The post on Instagram showed a picture of the two together, their heads touching as they watched a performance of some kind.

Navalny’s death has had deep reverberations.

Donald Trump, who has been accused of withholding funding and weapons from Ukraine via Congress, came under fire on Sunday for his continued silence over Navalny’s death.

“The fact that he won’t acknowledge anything with Navalny – either he sides with Putin and thinks it’s cool that Putin killed one of his political opponents, or he just doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Nikki Haley, his only Republican rival for the presidential nomination, said on ABC’s “This Week”.

“Either one of those is concerning. Either one of those is a problem,” added the Republican candidate, who is trailing far behind Mr Trump in the race for their party’s nomination.

Navalny’s still-unexplained death at 47 in a prison in Russia’s Arctic has drawn powerful condemnations from leaders around the world, starting with Joe Biden, the US president, who has squarely blamed Putin.

But Mr Trump, Mr Biden’s likely opponent in November, has yet to say a word about it at any of several public appearances since Navalny’s death was reported on Friday.

The Trump campaign, asked for comment, has directed reporters to a post on Mr Trump’s Truth Social platform that says: “America is no longer respected because we have an incompetent president who is weak and doesn’t understand what the world is thinking.”

The post does not mention Navalny, Russia or Putin.

The lack of comment comes days after Mr Trump stunned Western allies by saying he would “encourage” Russia to attack members of the Nato military alliance who had not met their financial obligations.

The suggestion cast a pall over a major global security conference in Munich, drawing a warning from Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of Nato, that Mr Trump should not “undermine” the alliance’s security.

Clergy warn of ‘doom spiral’ as church attendance drops off at record rate

Sunday church attendance is just 80 per cent of what it was in 2019, Telegraph analysis has revealed, despite the Church of England claiming that it has “bounced back” after the pandemic.‌

The figures reveal that church attendance has more than halved since 1987, prompting clergy to warn: “This is a doom spiral of the church’s own choosing.”

‌In 2023, The Telegraph published an investigation which revealed that parishes are closing at a record rate, prompting fears that the Church had been “dealt a death knell”.

‌The investigation found that almost 300 parishes have disappeared in the past five years alone – the fastest rate since records began in 1960. 

The figures came against the backdrop of claims that senior bishops and clergy were “putting a gun to people’s heads” to drive through controversial plans to cut costs, merge parishes and cut vicars. 

They also came amid declining congregation numbers, leaving many clergy afraid to speak out for fear of losing their jobs.

‌The Telegraph has analysed new data from the Church of England’s latest Statistics for Mission 2022 report, and has found that across the country, usual Sunday church attendance sits at 81 per cent of 2019 levels, meaning that 133,200 regular parishioners had not returned to the Church despite the end of Covid restrictions.

‌The Telegraph’s previous reporting on the fall in regular parishioners in 2021 had been described as “misleading” by the Church, as some Covid restrictions were still in place at the time the 2021 report was compiled.

‌However, the latest figures suggest that this is not the case.‌

Furthermore, the data show that a further 28 parishes were closed or merged in the past year, which has been controversial among churchgoers.

‌This, however, is below the record-breaking rate of reductions seen in the preceding five years when an average of 56 parishes ceased a year.

‌Across the country, 41 churches were closed, meaning 641 churches have been closed since 2000 or 4 per cent.

‌Responding to the analysis, Rev Marcus Walker, the chairman of the Save the Parish campaign group, said: “As sure as night follows day if you close parishes and reduce clergy, the number of people who are able to turn up to church will fall.”

‌The Rev, who is also Rector at St Bartholomew the Great in the City of London, who is also a member of the General Synod, the Church of England’s legislative body, added: “This is a doom spiral of the church’s own choosing. It has the money to turn this around, the question is: does it have the will?”

‌While The Telegraph’s latest analysis does suggest some minor post-Covid rebounds in church attendance, as, year on year, average attendance has increased by seven per cent.

‌This means that since 1987, usual Sunday church attendance has more than halved (-52.8 per cent), declining from 1.2 million to 556,800.‌

In Durham, just three-quarters (73 per cent) of usual congregants have returned, whilst in St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, it is 89 per cent, the highest in the country.‌

According to the Church of England’s most recent data, contained in its Statistics for Mission, it claimed that nearly a million people were regular worshippers in 2023 as the Church “continued its post-pandemic bounce back”.

‌Furthermore, over the past six years, usual Sunday church attendees have declined at a record rate with an average 32,616 fewer attendees per year.‌

In publishing its annual Statistics for Mission 2022, the Church of England said the number of regular worshippers across the whole week, not just Sundays, grew by nearly 20,000 people to 984,000 in 2022 compared to 966,000 in 2021; however, this figure is still down from 200,000 in 2019.

‌Dr Ken Eames, author of the Statistics for Mission 2022 report, from the Church of England’s Data Services team, said: “Churches did everything they could to return to normal life in 2022 following the huge disruption of 2020 and 2021 caused by the pandemic.

‌“But 2022 was not free of its impact, indeed official figures suggest that Covid rates were higher in October 2022 than in 2021.

‌“Although for many people things were getting back to normal, churches were still experiencing Covid-related disruption.”

‌Responding to The Telegraph’s latest analysis, a Church spokesman said: “The Church of England’s 2022 Statistics for Mission – the latest available – showed a welcome rise in attendance for the second year in a row with nearly a million regular worshippers in Church of England churches.

‌“Our parishes did everything they could to return to normal life in that year following the huge disruption of 2020 and 2021 caused by the pandemic.

‌“However, we know that 2022 was not free of the impact of Covid, indeed official figures suggest that Covid rates were higher in October 2022 than in 2021.

‌“There is unprecedented investment in mission and ministry taking place in the Church of England of £3.6 billion up to 2031.”

Trans-women’s milk as good as breast milk, says NHS trust

An NHS trust has said that breast milk produced by trans women who were assigned male at birth is as good for babies as that produced by a mother who has given birth.

In a letter to campaigners, the University of Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust (USHT), said that the milk produced by trans women after taking a combination of drugs is “comparable to that produced following the birth of a baby”.

The hospital trust, which runs Royal Sussex County Hospital, Worthing Hospital and Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital among others, was also the first in Britain to use the term “chestfeeding” in place of breastfeeding because it is considered by some to be more inclusive.

The trust created what it called Britain’s “first clinical and language guidelines supporting trans and non-binary birthing people” in 2021.

Within its guidance were assertions about the ability of trans women to produce milk for a baby.

Drug to develop milk-producing glands

These were the subject of a complaint last year by the Children of Transitioners. The organisation was founded by a woman whose father transitioned, in an effort to provide advice for children in a similar situation.

In an August 2023 response, the hospital defended its claims, referring to five scientific papers dating back to 1977 and pointing to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance and “overwhelming evidence” that “human milk” is better for a baby than formula milk.

It also references a 2022 study that found “milk testosterone concentrations” were under 1 per cent with “no observable side effects” in the babies. The study lasted for five months and no long-term data was obtained.

For a person born male to breastfeed, they must develop milk-producing glands by taking the hormone progestin.

A drug is required to lactate, such as domperidone, which is often prescribed to women struggling to breastfeed, and helps to stimulate the production of prolactin – a separate hormone that tells the body to produce milk.

Domperidone, also known by the brand name Motilum, was not intended for this, but is prescribed off-label by doctors, despite the manufacturer, Janssen, itself recommending against it because of possible side effects to a baby’s heart.

The patient leaflet for Motilium says: “Small amounts have been detected in breastmilk. Motilium may cause unwanted side effects affecting the heart in a breastfed baby. [It] should be used during breastfeeding only if your physician considers this clearly necessary.”

USHT believes the practice is safe, adding that hospital staff “advise any parent who is taking medication (for whatever reason) to seek advice on the possibility of that medication being transferred to the baby through breastfeeding and also the health implications for the baby”.

Trust ‘unbalanced and naive’

Lottie Moore, of the Policy Exchange, which uncovered the letter, said the trust “is unbalanced and naïve in its assertion that the secretions produced by a male on hormones can nourish an infant in the way a mother’s breast milk can”.

USHT has removed the webpage where the guidance was published, but now links to an external website, La Leche League, which states it “supports everyone who wants to breastfeed or chestfeed in reaching their goals”.

Maya Forstater, the director of campaign group Sex Matters, said: “For a chief executive and medical director of an NHS trust to prioritise trans identities over what is best for mothers and their babies is deeply disturbing.”

Milli Hill, a campaigner for women’s rights in childbirth, said: “Male people, however they identify or describe themselves, cannot breastfeed.”

University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust said: “We stand by the facts of the letter and the cited evidence supporting them.”

‘No way back’ for Prince Harry as working royal as palace stands firm

There is no way back for the Duke of Sussex to take a temporary working role in the Royal family while his father is ill, The Telegraph understands, after reports he is willing to step in.

The terms of the Sandringham summit, as agreed between the Duke and his late grandmother, father and brother, still stand, and rule out a “half in, half out” approach to monarchy.

On Saturday, it was reported that the Duke had expressed willingness to help the Royal family while his father is taking a break from public engagements as he receives treatment for cancer.

A newspaper claimed the Duke had told friends he would step back into a royal role, and quoted an insider saying it made “perfect sense” on a practical level.

A source close to the Sussexes on Saturday said they believed the Duke would return to help his family if asked.

The Duke and his father recently spent around 30 minutes together at Clarence House, after he flew back to Britain having learned of the King’s cancer diagnosis.

It is understood that the matter was not discussed in that meeting, at which the Queen was present, with no formal conversations taking place about the Duke’s return.

Palace sources have emphasised that the King’s illness will not change the terms of the Sandringham summit agreement, in which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s exit from the working Royal family was negotiated in detail.

One source said: “Those terms were quite clear, and the King’s illness hasn’t altered that.”

Another confirmed that the express views of the late Queen, the King and the Prince of Wales, that a hybrid model of working royalty was not appropriate, “remains the case”.

In an interview with Good Morning America this week, the Duke said his own family was now based in California but added: “I’ve got other trips planned that would take me through or back to the UK so I’ll stop and see my family as much as I can.”

He also agreed with an interviewer that the King’s illness could help unify his family.

One source said they had a “hard time believing he [the Duke] wouldn’t want to try” to help his father, should he be asked.

The report in The Times caused disquiet on both sides of the Atlantic, with questions over the timing and wisdom of friends exposing the Duke to criticism of using his father’s illness to push a narrative of “reconciliation” with his family.

Ingrid Seward, royal commentator and author of My Mother and I, suggested anyone attempting to engineer the Duke’s return to public life in support of his father would be wasting their time.

She said: “Harry is out. There’s no going back to a public role. What would he do? He has got no patronages to exercise as a public figure and for him to come back would just be a parade for Harry. It would not be a serious, proper role like the working royals have.”

One insider said it also appeared at odds with the recent approach of “least said soonest mended” about the Royal family’s interpersonal relationships. Even the Duke’s critics had noted a lack of immediate briefing about his meeting with his father, and “fairly moderate” words in his GMA interview.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have now finished their three-day trip to Vancouver to promote the Invictus Games.

Members of the Royal family are expected to be back in action on Sunday, with the King and Queen likely to go to church at Sandringham and the Prince of Wales confirmed as attending the Baftas in his role as president of the academy.

The palace has always made it clear that no “stepping in” to fill the King’s engagements is yet necessary from any members of the family, with the Queen continuing with her programme and the Prince of Wales returning to work once his wife is on the mend from abdominal surgery.

The King intends to undertake all state business throughout his treatment, with some modifications to make sure his health is protected throughout.

JK Rowling donates £70k to challenge ruling that men can become women

JK Rowling has donated £70,000 to a feminist group to help its bid to obtain a “historic” Supreme Court ruling stating that men cannot become women.

The Harry Potter author pledged the cash to For Women Scotland, which is going to the UK’s highest court in a long-running legal battle with the Scottish Government over whether biological men can legally become female under UK law.

The group won an earlier case in which it was found that the SNP’s position that anyone who identified as a woman should be counted as one, for the purposes of gender quotas introduced for public boards, was unlawful.

However, it has lost a case which challenged rewritten guidance, which stated that biological men counted as women if they had acquired a gender recognition certificate (GRC) reflecting a female identity.

While the issue centres around Holyrood legislation intended to boost the number of women on public boards, the case will have wider ramifications for the legal status of trans people in Britain.

Rowling donated the £70,000 sum within hours of the Scottish courts granting permission for the Supreme Court appeal. So far, more than £125,000 has been raised towards the group’s estimated costs of £200,000 in an online crowdfunder.

“You know how proud I am to know you,” Rowling wrote to the group in a message after she made the donation. “Thank you for all your hard work and perseverance. This is truly a historic case.”

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, she mocked trans activists who had criticised her for making the donation.

Some attacked her for not spending that cash on something else, and argued that if For Women Scotland succeeded the case would drastically erode the legal rights of trans people.

After one X user sarcastically said she bet Rowling hadn’t asked her husband’s permission first, she joked that he had told her that the money was “coming out of next week’s housekeeping allowance”.

‘Strong grounds’ for an appeal

In a controversial ruling in December 2022, the Scottish courts found that biological men can legally become women and share in their legal protections, if they obtain a GRC.

This is mainly because the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, UK-wide legislation, states that the documents mean a person becomes a member of their “acquired” sex “for all purposes”.

However, For Women Scotland argues this was superseded by the 2010 Equality Act, in which trans women and women are treated as two protected, but distinct, groups.

The later legislation allows even trans women with GRCs to be excluded from some women’s spaces and activities, if certain conditions are met.

For Women Scotland said it had obtained legal advice indicating that it had “strong grounds” for an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Scottish Government did not oppose the application to appeal, conceding there were “arguable points of law of general public importance”.