Published On: Fri, Apr 12th, 2024

Tories accuse Labour of trying to ‘shut women up’ in trans row | Politics | News

A Tory cabinet minister has accused Labour of trying to “shut women up,” reigniting a political sparring match over the transgender issue.

Health secretary Victoria Atkins also claimed the opposition had created an “atmosphere of intimidation” around the topic. It came in the wake of a major report on NHS gender services that was released earlier this week.

Meanwhile shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said his former employer Stonewall was wrong to argue “trans women are women, get over it”.

Labour shadow cabinet member Louise Haigh however rejected the notion the party had tried to shut down debate on trans issues. She said there was “bad faith” on all sides.

Last month Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was criticised after he refused to apologise for making a joke out of transgender people while the mother of murdered teen Brianna Ghey was in Parliament.

Since the Cass report – which called for gender services for young people to match the standards of other NHS care – was released Harry Potter author JK Rowling has also sparked a debate about trans issues, saying stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson should “save their apologies”.

In an interview with Sky News, Atkins said: “Labour has spent the last 10 years trying to shut women up when it comes to this. They have been part of the ideology, the culture wars, creating an atmosphere of intimidation for anyone who dared to question this ideology.

“So it is a little bit rich of the Labour Party to be lecturing the rest of us now, having been so forthright in their support for this ideology in the past.”

Haigh denied the claims Labour had shut down debate and said Streeting was right to “hold his hands up” and say it was wrong to use language such as “get over it”.

Speaking to The Sun, Streeting said he had to approach the transgender debate with “some self-criticism” and “reflection” as he looked back at how his stance has changed from saying “‘trans men are men, trans women are women”.

He said: “To the extent that – and I say this with some self-criticism and reflection – if you’d asked me a few years ago, on this topic, I would have said ‘trans men are men, trans women are women, some people are trans, get over it, let’s move on, this is all blown out of proportion’,” he stated.

Author Rowling meanwhile joined the trans debate once more after Harry Potter star Watson appeared to make a dig at her views during the Baftas in 2022.

While in 2020, Watson tweeted: “I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.”

A recent study found transgender teenagers in Scotland have the lowest level of happiness in a decade, reports the Independent. Charity LGBT Youth Scotland said there was an “unacceptable” level of tolerance.

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