Trans row continues to plague Penny Mordaunt’s bid for top job as she is accused of changing her views to win support
- Mordaunt said Westminster was tying itself in knots about the trans row issue
- She once called for ‘complete solidarity’ with the transgender community
- But asked yesterday, she went back on statement that trans women were women
Miss Mordaunt said Westminster was ‘tying itself in knots’ about the issue – while she has been accused of changing her views to win support.
It emerged that Miss Mordaunt once called for ‘complete solidarity’ with the transgender community – comments that jar with her stance now.
Asked yesterday if trans women were women – as she has previously stated – she said: ‘Some people who are born male will go through a process to transition into another gender and they are issued a legal document in their new gender. They are not biological women like me, but the law recognises them in their new gender and that’s very simple and straightforward. And Westminster is tying itself in knots over it.’
The trans row continued to dog Penny Mordaunt’s leadership campaign yesterday, as she dismissed criticism of her ‘woke’ views by insisting her position was ‘simple and straightforward’
Asked if trans women can legally be women, she said: ‘Legally but not biologically. And we are not equivalent in that respect. People should look at my record on this. I was raising, for example, the issue of trans people competing against women in sport many years ago.’
What she said then… vs what she says now
‘Trans women are women’ – Interview with the PinkNews website in 2018
‘Trans men are men and trans women are women’ – Speaking in the House of Commons in March 2021
‘Some people born male and who have been through the gender recognition process are also legally female. That DOES NOT mean they are biological women, like me’ – Tweet on Sunday
‘I think it was Margaret Thatcher who said, “Every prime minister needs a Willie”. A woman like me doesn’t have one’ – At her campaign launch on Wednesday, referring to Margaret Thatcher’s tribute to her right-hand man, Willie Whitelaw
Miss Mordaunt suggested the issue was being used against her, adding: ‘It’s not having an impact on my campaign, and it’s not having an impact on my parliamentary campaign. And I think the reason for that is that people recognise it for what it is. I understand why people are trying to stop me getting into the final two, but I am going to stay focused on the things that matter to the public and the people we’re here to serve.’
The trade minister was also asked about her brother’s views on the relationship the Conservative Party has with the LGBTQ community. James Mordaunt has claimed the Tories are ‘complicit’ with hatred towards the community. Miss Mordaunt said: ‘I’m a small-state Conservative. Government shouldn’t be telling pubs and clubs what their toilet policy is. We should be concentrating on the big issues that are worrying and, in some cases, terrifying the public.’
Yesterday, it emerged that Miss Mordaunt had said she was in ‘complete solidarity with the trans community’ when women and equalities minister in 2018.
She has faced criticism for an apparent change of stance after declaring in recent days that trans women are not biological women. She had previously insisted at the despatch box in Parliament that trans women were women. Former leadership contender Suella Braverman has accused the trade minister of refusing to ‘stand up for women’. She claimed Miss Mordaunt resisted using the words ‘woman’ and ‘mother’ in legislation allowing her to take maternity leave from her role as Attorney General.
It came as scientists voiced concerns that Miss Mordaunt is a keen supporter of the ‘bogus’ treatment of homeopathy in the NHS. Supporters of the so-called treatment claim it can cure disease using highly diluted substances – but its critics deride it as quackery and a belief in ‘magic water’.
Michael Marshall, of the pro-science charity Good Thinking Society, said: ‘It is concerning to think that a leading contender for the highest office has such a poor appreciation of the importance of evidence when it comes to healthcare and science, and that she feels confident standing publicly against the conclusions of medical experts.’