Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Badenoch cannot say what paperwork would define biological sex under Tory plan

Women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Kemi Badenoch has said that “changing your clothes doesn’t change who you are” as she set out the Tories’ pledge to change the Equality Act so that sex is defined only as someone’s biological sex.

But the women and equalities minister could not say what what kind of paperwork people would need to show to use single-sex spaces under the plans.

The Conservatives say the change will make it simpler for service providers for women and girls, such as those running sessions for domestic abuse victims, to prevent biological males from taking part.

Labour said it would not amend the Equality Act if elected and that the Tories’ attempt to stoke a culture war was a “distraction” from issues voters care about, such as the cost-of-living crisis.

Ms Badenoch stressed that the Conservatives are seeking to clarify the Equality Act, not change it.

The Cabinet minister told Sky News on Monday: “It is re-emphasising what should be the status quo.

“We have seen quite a lot of changes in terms of terminology in the law. Sex and gender we used interchangeably, now we don’t do that, so what we’re doing is making sure people understand what the law says. We have seen a lot of problems with people misinterpreting the law.”

The Tories want to change the Act to apply to biological sex, and say those who are biologically male but identify as female should be barred from using single-sex spaces.

Ms Badenoch could not answer questions on whether someone’s original birth certificate – or one amended after a legally-recognised gender change – would define biological sex in such cases.

Pressed repeatedly, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “What you are describing is a hypothetical scenario, assuming that when people go into rape crisis centres they’re bringing in birth certificates, they’re bringing in gender recognition certificates.

“What is happening at the moment is that people come to the centres and they are visibly of a different sex. You don’t always need your birth certificate when you’re going to the toilet and so on and so forth.”

She continued: “This is not a paperwork issue. This is a practical issue.”

Rishi Sunak’s party says the proposed change to the law will not remove the existing and continuing protections against discrimination on the basis of gender reassignment provided by the Equality Act.

Speaking to LBC radio, Ms Badenoch said: “Changing your clothes doesn’t change who you are, we want people who are trans to be protected as well, people who want to change their clothes should not be able to exploit the scenarios we have prepared and the laws we have put in place to protect those people who are genuine transgender people, those who suffer gender dysphoria.

“Just putting on a different set of clothes does not make you transgender.”

POLITICS Election Polls
(PA Graphics)

Labour’s John Healey said his party would not amend the Equality Act if it wins the election because there are already provisions to protect single-sex spaces.

The Liberal Democrats criticised the Tory policy as a “cynical distraction from their failings on so many issues”.

Deputy leader Daisy Cooper said she did not believe there was a demand or a need to “unpick” the Act.

Keir Starmer visit to BAE Systems
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow defence secretary John Healey (Danny Lawson/PA)

Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer’s party is pitching itself as the “party of national security” as it seeks to switch attention to defence.

He has been attempting to shift perceptions of Labour’s defence stance following the party’s time under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, a long-standing critic of Nato and Trident.

In a speech at the Fusilier Museum in Bury on Monday, the party leader said a “new age of insecurity” has begun, with the rumble of war in Europe as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine.

He said he was “absolutely committed to peace” but that “for peace, you have to be prepared to fight” and signalled that he would be prepared to use nuclear weapons if needed.

“Nobody who aspires to be prime minister would set out the circumstances in which it would be used. That would be irresponsible, but it is there as part of a vital part of our defence, so of course we would have to be prepared to use it,” he said.

Sir Keir has reaffirmed his commitment to a “nuclear deterrent triple lock” as well as his ambition to increase defence spending to 2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the size of the economy.

Mr Sunak has made clear he wants to meet the 2.5% target by 2030 although Labour has so far declined to outline its timeline, only noting it would do so when economic conditions allow.

Sir Keir insisted his whole shadow cabinet is behind him on nuclear weapons when challenged over previous opposition from some of his front bench, including his deputy Angela Rayner and shadow foreign secretary David Lammy.

He criticised the Tories for questioning Labour’s commitment to national security, saying he did not believe it should be a “party political issue.”

“With my changed Labour Party, national security will always come first,” Sir Keir said.

The Labour leader is meeting forces veterans and a group of his party’s candidates when he campaigns in the North West of England.

He will be hoping to avoid questions on Diane Abbott, after she announced that she will be standing for the party in Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

Labour Party Conference
Diane Abbott addressing the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre (Victoria Jones/PA)

Ms Abbott wrote on X that she intends “to run and to win as Labour’s candidate”, as she dispelled rumours that she had been offered a peerage in return for stepping down.

The lack of clarity over whether the veteran left-winger would be allowed to stand for the party after she had the whip reinstated last week dominated the Labour campaign, despite their efforts to stay on message.

The Liberal Democrats are meanwhile seeking to prevent damage closer to home, as they call for new protections for rivers and coastlines to end “environmental vandalism”.

The party has announced an expansion of marine protected areas and a new Blue Flag status for rivers will be included in its General Election manifesto.