A Cabinet split has emerged on trans policy after it emerged Kemi Badenoch does not believe a law change is required to ban children changing gender in schools while others, including the Attorney General, believe it is. The Telegraph has more.
In July, Attorney General Victoria Prentis said that the Government would have to change the law to bring in a ban on so-called ‘social transitioning’, as gender reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.
Social transitioning is where those identifying as trans expect to wear the opposite-sex uniform and demand others call them by the opposite-sex pronoun.
But the Telegraph understands that Ms. Badenoch, the Equalities Minister, believes guidance can be given to schools without such legislation.
The issue of whether legislation is required has delayed the introduction of guidance for schools, leaving them in limbo about whether they can stop boys who identify as girls from using girls’ toilets or joining girls’ sports teams.
Rishi Sunak is even said to be considering scrapping a ban on social transitioning altogether, fearful of Tory splits on the issue being exposed in the Commons if legislation is attempted.
On Thursday night, MPs and campaign groups urged the Government to go ahead and issue guidance without a change in the law.
Helen Joyce, Director of Advocacy at the gender-critical group Sex Matters, said: “The government does not need any new law in order to give schools simple and clear guidance based on the obvious fact that children cannot change sex.
“Any pretence in a school environment that a child has changed sex will inevitably mean that the school does not fulfil its statutory duties, in particular those relating to safeguarding.”
Tory MP Danny Kruger said: “Parents in my constituency are deeply concerned about the practice of ‘social transitioning’ – schools treating boys and girls or vice versa, without parents’ consent.
“For the sake of all the children, including those confused about their identity.
“The Government has decided not to legislate on the matter. If so, that’s fine – it doesn’t need to. It just needs to change the guidance for schools.
“Pupils should be treated according to their biological sex. If parents are happy to treat their child differently at home, that’s up to them – they shouldn’t be able to insist the teachers and all the other children do likewise.
“I believe most parents of confused kids would be relieved about this rule. Identity is a minefield, and many children are in deep distress. But the crucial identity we need to maintain is the position of responsibility. Can the adults be adults please?”
However, the schools trans guidance, originally promised for the summer term, continues to be delayed with no published timetable. Yesterday, No. 10 was unable to guarantee that it will be published before the election, with the Prime Minister’s official spokesman saying ministers need more information about “the long-term implications of a child acting as though they are the opposite sex”.
After several scandals and reports, how much more information does the Government need?
Asked whether the guidance could be published before the next election, he said: “I’m not going to put a specific timeline on it, not least because I don’t know when the next election will be.”
However, one source told the Telegraph it was expected that the guidance will be published in the coming weeks.
What a shambles. If the Government can’t even act coherently on a matter of basic biological fact, what hope does it have in any other area?
Stop press: Allison Pearson has written an excellent column on this in the Telegraph, saying “the Tories can’t afford to capitulate to the trans cult”.