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A brief history of Sir Keir Starmer’s trans flip-flopping


Where public opinion goes, Sir Keir follows. Tony Benn used to divide politicians into two categories: the Signposts and the Weathercocks, with the Labour leader falling decidedly into the latter group. As public attitudes on women-only spaces and elite sport have hardened in recent years, the Leader of the Opposition has slowly, painfully followed suit, often to the chagrin of Labour’s LGBT+ factions. Below is a timeline of Sir Keir’s shifting stance over the past three years of his leadership…

November 2020 – Five months after being elected leader, Starmer posts on Facebook that ‘Trans rights are human rights, and your fight is our fight too. The Labour Party stands proudly with the trans community.’ At this stage, his stance on trans rights is taken to be the same as that which the party had under Jeremy Corbyn. That was articulated in the party’s 2019 manifesto: ‘Labour is committed to reforming the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to introduce self-declaration for transgender people.’

June 2021 – Following the disastrous result of the Hartlepool by-election, Starmer struggles to assert his authority on the party. He records a video message for PinkNews‘ Pride for All celebrations in which he confirms his commitment to self-ID : ‘Trans people are one of the most discriminated groups in our society. Labour knows how much work there is to do… We’re committed to updating the GRA [Gender Recognition Act] to introduce self-declaration for trans people.’

September 2021 – Sir Keir slaps down Rosie Duffield for saying that only women have a cervix. Duffield, the Labour MP for Canterbury, stayed away from the party’s annual conference after receiving online threats. Starmer is asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show whether it is transphobic to say that only women have a cervix. He replies ‘It is something that shouldn’t be said.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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