Sturgeon could 'water down gender law changes’ says pundit
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Sir Keir Starmer has vowed to change the law to allow transgender people to self-declare their gender if Labour wins the next general election, according to The Daily Telegraph. The Labour leader has said that he will “update” the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) despite receiving warnings from critics.
If this change was legislated by a Labour Government led by Sir Keir, it could mean that legislation across the UK mirrors the changes passed by the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.
Holyrood’s legislation allows people as young as 16 to change their legal gender by signing a declaration and obtaining what is known as a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC).
However, those who apply for a GRC will have to make a legally binding declaration that they are already living in their acquired gender and intend to remain so permanently.
It will also be a criminal offence for applicants to make a false application.
Ministers in Westminster have threatened to block the Scottish Parliament’s changes, a move described as “completely reasonable” by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday.
On Thursday, Labour MSPs were whipped to vote in favour of the Gender Recognition Bill in a move that caused a row in the party as some refused to support the change.
However, according to The Daily Telegraph, Sir Keir would legislate for similar changes in England and Wales if elected at the next election.
In a message to Pink News for Pride last year, Sir Keir said he was focused on “forming the next Government so we can introduce legislation and change society so that, whoever you are, you can lead a happy and fulfilled life”.
He added: “We are committed to updating the GRA to introduce self-declaration for trans people.”
Sir Keir has yet to comment on the controversy surrounding the vote in Scotland and whether he would support plans to block the bill in Westminster.
A Labour spokesman said that a future Labour Government would try to balance the need to support rights for transgender rights and concerns raised by women about the potential erosion of single-sex spaces.
He said: “All political parties agree that the process needs modernising.
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“A future Labour Government will consult on what that looks like, while upholding the Equality Act and maintaining single-sex spaces.
“Labour has a strong and proud record of standing up for women’s rights. Our commitment to them is unrelenting.”
On Friday, however, women’s rights campaigners accused Labour of silencing women’s concerns, warning of the “huge dangers” for vulnerable women.
Under current legislation, an applicant must be over 18, have medical proof that they have gender dysphoria, have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years and have had the change signed off by a panel.
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