Controversial plans to make it easier for people to change their gender have been ditched by the Scottish Government.

The contentious Gender Reform Act was deferred so Holyrood can focus efforts on tackling the impact of coronavirus.

The initial proposals aimed to let trans people receive official recognition through self-declaration after six months. It replaced a medical certificate and need for a two-year period living as that gender.

But the plans caused major rifts in the SNP and among support groups worried about the impact on women’s rights and shared spaces such as single sex toilets.

Other plans being shelved include a “tourist tax”, stronger control of fox hunting and environmental reforms on waste.

Graeme Dey, the SNP’s parliamentary business minister, said: “I'm afraid this is an unavoidable consequence of focusing resource on the efforts to deal with the virus," the minister told MSPs.

"As the Covid crisis unfolds there may well be further difficult decisions.

"I understand that in some cases the need to pause or delay aspects of this legislative programme will deeply disappointing, and for some who have waited a long time to see these reforms there will be a frustration that we can no longer achieve all that we wanted to.”

Dey said there has been no discussion about postponing next year's Holyrood election.