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23 March 2023

Starmer signals a Labour “reset” on gender reform

Has Labour changed its mind on self-ID?

By The Chatterer

Is Keir Starmer preparing to U-turn on his commitment to reform gender recognition laws?

The Labour leader was in Stoke-on-Trent today setting out how a government led by him would tackle crime. When he took questions from the media he was asked whether he still planned to introduce self-identification – which would allow trans people to legally change gender without the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria – if Labour wins the next election.

The party has suggested previously that doing so would not be a priority, after Labour backbenchers such as Rosie Duffield made clear their opposition.

It follows the startling resignation of Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland after her government passed the Gender Recognition Bill, which would allow anyone aged 16 or older to change gender without a medical certificate. Westminster blocked the legislation, and whether MSPs launch legal proceedings to try to push ahead with the bill will be a dilemma for Sturgeon’s successor.

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, told the New Statesman earlier this month that Labour must “stop gaslighting women, stop silencing women and stop pretending that there aren’t challenges” when it comes to the impact of self-ID on female-only spaces.

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And today Starmer offered the clearest sign yet of a U-turn on Labour’s policy, telling reporters: “I mean, I think that if we reflect on what’s happened in Scotland, the lesson I take from that is that if you’re going to make reforms, you have to carry the public with you. And I think that’s a very important message, and I think that’s why it’s clear that in Scotland there should be a reset of the situation.”

Read more:

Andrew Marr: Keir Starmer must not panic

Keir Starmer essay: This is what I believe

Keir Starmer’s international inspiration

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