Overwhelming majority of Tory MPs oppose transgender rights overhaul – new poll

Posted On: 
14th October 2018

Ministers could face a backlash over plans to overhaul transgender rights, as a new poll finds overwhelming opposition among Tory MPs.

Ministers and Tory MPs look set to clash over transgender rights
Credit: 
PA

Under the plans, people would be able to legally change gender without consulting a doctor.

Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt is said to be a strong advocate for such changes, which have long been sought by campaigners for transgender rights.

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At a Cabinet meeting last June, another minister described how Ms Mordant said "it was the defining moral and cultural issue of our time and that we must get this right now because we have failed to be on the right side of previous controversies.”

They added: “She said this was the equivalent of establishing gay rights in the 1980s. Nobody round the table made a fuss.”

However, a new ComRes poll of MPs suggests Ms Mordaunt could face fierce opposition if the proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act come to the Commons.

The survey found that only 9% of Tory MPs back self-identification, with 69% opposed.

Just over half did not agree that transgender women should have the same rights as people born female, while eight out of ten expressed concern over the number of children wanting to change gender. 

A public consultation on the proposals ends next week.

A Government Equalities Office spokesperson said: “Speculation in media over the weekend about the Gender Recognition Act is wrong. These are complex and sensitive issues.

“We know that many trans people find the current requirements overly intrusive and bureaucratic. We are consulting now because we want to hear people’s views. The consultation is not yet closed.

“We have always made clear that any reform of the Gender Recognition Act will not change the exceptions under the Equality Act that allow provision for single and separate sex spaces.

“The consultation ends next week and we will look carefully at all the responses.”