Labour is in fresh disarray over trans rights as it resurrects a pledge to make it easier for people to legally change their gender.
The party on Friday vowed to press ahead with “modernising” the Gender Recognition Act [GRA], a week after Sir Keir Starmer suggested the plans were on ice.
Tory MPs described the latest change in position as “worrying” and said it could boost the Conservatives’ chances of retaining seats at the next election.
Labour reaffirmed its pledge to “modernise the outdated Gender Recognition Act” in a message to mark International Transgender Day of Visibility.
In a social media post, it said: “The Labour Party will always be committed to building a society where the trans community feel safe and respected.”
The party’s leadership has been plagued by accusations of flip-flopping and ambiguity over its stance on whether to make it easier for people to change gender.
Backed away from pledge
Sir Keir announced in a 2021 interview that Labour under his leadership was “committed to updating the GRA to introduce self-declaration for trans people”.
He began to back away from the pledge in January2023 amid controversy over Scottish proposals to introduce self-ID without a medical certification.
The Labour leader said he had “concerns” over Nicola Sturgeon’s plans and that the age limit on legally changing gender should not be lowered to 16.
In a change of position he explained his party’s new policy was to “modernise the legislation to take out the indignities” involved in transitioning.
In February Ms Sturgeon resigned as First Minister, with the backlash to her gender reform plans cited as having fatally undermined her leadership.
Sir Keir appeared to signal a further climbdown last week when he said that lessons had to be learnt from what happened in Scotland.
Read More: Labour vows it will make it easier to change gender in policy switch