Rishi Sunak drew a gender dividing line with Keir Starmer as he declared that no women have penises.The PM set out his 'different point of view' from
The PM set out his ‘different point of view’ from the Labour leader as he rallied Tories ahead of crucial local elections in three weeks’ time.
In an interview with the ConservativeHome website, Mr Sunak was asked what he thought about Sir Keir’s suggestion that 99.9 cent of women do not have penises.
Quizzed on whether the correct figure was actually 100 per cent, the premier replied: ‘Yeah, of course.’
He went on: ‘We should always have compassion and understanding and tolerance for those who are thinking about changing their gender. Of course we should…
‘But when it comes to these issues of protecting women’s rights, women’s spaces, I think the issue of biological sex is fundamentally important when we think about those questions.
Rishi Sunak set out his ‘different point of view’ from the Labour leader as he rallied Tories ahead of crucial local elections in three weeks’ time
Mr Sunak was asked what he thought about Sir Keir’s suggestion that 0.1 per cent of women do have penises
‘As a general operating principal for me biological sex is vitally fundamentally important in these questions. We can’t forget that.’
Sir Keir sought to clarify his stance on transgender issues earlier this month by stating that 99.9 per cent of women ‘of course haven’t got a penis’.
Party strategists have warned Sir Keir that he risks losing the next general election if he cannot find a satisfactory way of defining a woman.
He last month appeared to shift his position on gender self-identification in the wake of the SNP’s meltdown on the issue, hinting he could ditch a past commitment to loosen the rules.
Sir Keir has previously been reluctant to say whether a woman can have a penis – which has been branded ‘dystopian’ by one critical Labour MP.
He also said in 2021 that it is ‘not right’ to say only women have a cervix.
But, in an interview with the Sunday Times, the Labour leader attempted to further explain his position.
‘For 99.9 per cent of women, it is completely biological… and of course they haven’t got a penis,’ he told the newspaper.
Sir Keir also stressed there shouldn’t be a ‘rolling back’ of women’s rights in the debate over transgender issues.
‘I think there is a fear that somehow there could be the rolling back of some of the things that have been won,’ he added.
‘There are still many battles that need to go ahead for women and I don’t think we should roll anything back.
‘I think we should go on to win the next battles for women. And that is a very important sort of starting point for this debate.’
Considering gender recognition reforms is not at odds with women’s rights overall, deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said today.
She argued that protecting women-only spaces does not need to come at the expense of supporting transgender people.
Speaking to broadcasters during a visit to a food store in Derby on Thursday, Ms Rayner said: ‘I understand people’s concerns on both sides of the argument but I think we were the party of equality. We brought in the equality legislation. We are the best party for LGBT rights – we’ve got a history of doing that.
‘We can protect women-only spaces and we can be absolutely fair to transgender people, who are the most vulnerable people in society, in supporting them for their rights and fairness, and I think we can take the public with us on this.
‘We need safe spaces for women and we need to protect those safe places, but we also need to make sure that we move forward on transgender rights because they are some of the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in society.
‘It’s absolutely right that we look at gender reforms so that we can treat them fairly, but that is not at odds with women’s rights overall and protecting women-only spaces.
‘We can do both, and the Equalities Act that we brought in had exemptions in it for exactly making sure we can do that.’