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Boxing world’s support for Kellie Maloney – formerly Frank – shows how far we've come

Sports stars have offered their support to Kellie Maloney, who guided Lennox Lewis to the heavyweight title in 1993 when she was known as Frank.  

Former boxing promoter Frank Maloney explained in the Sunday Mirror yesterday that he is undergoing gender reassignment and is now living as a woman called Kellie.

She told the paper that she had never told anyone in the boxing world about feeling trapped in the wrong body from an early age. She said:

Can you imagine me walking into a boxing hall dressed as a woman and putting an event on? I can imagine what they would scream at me, but if I had been in the theatre or arts world nobody would blink an eye about this transition.”

Kellie Maloney is now more than a year into her transition, and her openness has drawn unexpectedly vocal support from others in the macho sporting world.

Lennox Lewis, with whom Maloney worked in the run-up to his heavyweight title in 1993, released the following statement:

I was just as shocked as anyone at the news about my former promoter and my initial thought was that it was a wind-up. The great thing about life, and boxing, is that, day to day, you never know what to expect. This world we live in isn't always cut and dried or black and white, and coming from the boxing fraternity, I can only imagine what a difficult decision this must be for [Maloney].

However, having taken some time to read Kellie's statements, I understand better what she, and others in similar situations are going through. I think that all people should be allowed to live their lives in a way that brings them harmony and inner peace.

I respect Kellie's decision and say that if this is what brings about true happiness in her life, than so be it. #LiveAndLetLive.”

Sky Sports pundit and former WBO cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson tweeted:

Former European boxing champion and Olympic bronze medallist Tony Jeffries, who was also managed by Maloney, also tweeted his support:

Footballer Stan Collymore added his regards:

Trans Media Watch, an organisation that seeks to help media outlets improve their reporting of trans issues, has said that they are pleased with the standard of coverage:

I'm a mole, innit.

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Ignoring devolved nations on Brexit "risks breaking up the UK"

Theresa May is meeting with Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh representatives. 

The Westminster government risks the break up of the union if it tries to impose a Brexit settlement on Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, the Institute for Government has warned.

On the day Theresa May is meeting with representatives from the devolved administrations, the thinktank said there were "worrying signs" the Tories were ignoring them instead of treating them like partners. 

The Institute urged the UK government to take steps to prevent "political spats from escalating into a full-blow constitutional crisis".

It stated:

"Imposing a Brexit settlement in the absence of consent from the devolved bodies may be legally possible, given that the UK Parliament remains sovereign. 

"However, this would run contrary to convention and to the spirit of devolution, which recognises the right of the three devolved nations to determine their own
form of government. 

"It would also be a reckless strategy for a government committed to the Union, since it would seriously undermine relationships between the four governments, and increase the chances of Scottish independence and rifts in Northern Ireland’s fragile power-sharing arrangements."

Instead, Brexit ministers from the devolved nations should be represented on a specially-created committee and held jointly responsible for the outcome of talks, it recommended. The devolved nations are expected to want a softer Brexit than the one outlined so far by Westminster. 

It noted that despite the Prime Minister's commitment to developing a "UK approach" to Brexit, there are "worrying signs" that the devolved governments are being ignored.

So far key decisions, such as the deadline for triggering Article 50, have been taken by Westminster alone. Legal experts have warned a stand off between devolved authorities and Westminster could lead to a constitutional crisis.

While civil servants across the UK are now trying to work together, the Institute for Government said their ability to do so "has been hindered by lack of agreement at a political level".

A Brexit settlement could also lead to new powers for the devolved nations, the report said, such as on employment and immigration.

The report said it was likely devolved parliaments would wish to vote on any settlement.

The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has already threatened to hold another independence referendum if Westminster does not take account of Scottish interests, and has pledged that the SNP will vote against the Brexit bill in Parliament. 

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.