Sir Keir Starmer: ‘Almost nobody talks about trans issues’

The Labor leader said he wonders “why on earth do we spend so much time debating something that doesn’t matter at the dinner table, at the kitchen table, at the cafe table or at the bar.”

The comment came in an interview with LBC on Monday morning and followed comments over the weekend in which he said 99 per cent of women don’t have a penis.

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Sir Keir has been criticized for his party’s confused approach to transgender issues.

Two years ago he said Labor was committed to “updating that [Gender Recognition Act] Introduce self-declaration for trans people.”

And just before Christmas, Labor whipped MSPs to vote in Holyrood for the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

Since then, however, the party has seemingly moved away from its unwavering support for the policy

During a visit to Cumbernauld last month he said it was “not a priority for the Labor Party”.

While Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar said the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon was a “restart opportunity” for the whole debate.

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When asked about women’s rights over the weekend, Sir Keir told the Sunday Times: “I think there is a fear that some of the things that have been won could somehow be undone.

“There are still many battles to be fought for women and I don’t think we should undo anything.”

When asked if a person with a penis can be a woman, Sir Keir said that 99.9% of women “naturally don’t have a penis”.

Asked about the comment today, Labor leader LBC said he wasn’t providing precise figures but did point out that for the “vast, large, large majority” of women, gender is biological.

He said he was trying to “take a reasonable, respectable and tolerant position.

He added: “As we campaign across the country, I speak to thousands and thousands of people and they want to speak to me about the cost of living crisis, they want to speak to me about the fact that they can’t pay their bills , they want to know what they are going to do with their council tax.

“Almost nobody, but nobody, talks about transgender issues. And sometimes I just wonder why on earth we spend so much time arguing about something that doesn’t matter at the dinner table, kitchen table, coffee shop table or bar.”

During the interview, he also said his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, was never a friend.

Labor confirmed last month that the veteran left would not be the party’s candidate for the Islington North constituency in the next general election.

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Asked about the relationship between the two men, Sir Keir said: “I think and hope my position is very clear. Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as Labor candidate in the next general election.

“This is a decision by the Labor Party’s National Executive Committee two weeks ago, so Jeremy Corbyn will not be a Labor candidate in the next election.”

Asked if Mr Corbyn was ever a friend, Sir Keir said: “No, not in the sense that we were visiting or anything. I worked with him as a colleague.

“Like I said, I haven’t spoken to him in two and a half years.”

Sir Keir also insisted he has not supported Mr Corbyn’s party leadership, but has accepted a role in his shadow cabinet to maintain an “effective opposition”.

He said, “Let’s just go through it. I didn’t vote for him in 2015 when he was at the helm. I wanted him to retire in 2016, he won again. I didn’t vote for him again.

“But I felt that we needed effective opposition, that I shouldn’t just walk off the stage.”

During the 2020 leadership competition, Sir Keir described Mr Corbyn as both a colleague and a friend. Sir Keir Starmer: ‘Almost nobody talks about trans issues’

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