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UK politics

Starmer’s trans fudge just won’t do

Keir Starmer with members of the 99.9%. Leon Neal/Getty

“Keir Starmer is taking women for fools,” says Jenni Russell in The Times. His new, “ingenious” formulation to the trans question is that “99.9% of women don’t have a penis”. He thinks this will “reassure anxious floating voters”. In fact, “he can’t quite see why everyone is so worked up” about the issue: people are worried about bills, not gender, he insisted in a recent interview. But this ignores “the little matter of that 0.1%”. For if some women have a penis, and any man can self-identify as the opposite gender, then women lose all privacy, rights and protections that come from single-sex spaces.

Schools are forcing girls to use unisex loos “where boys photograph them under the partitions”, terrifying them into not using the bathroom at all. So many male sex offenders are claiming to be female that the official figures are becoming distorted: trans women now “appear five times as likely to commit these crimes as men”. Mediocre sportsmen are identifying as women and seizing top titles as swimmers, weightlifters, cyclists and runners. The problem is that “good men” don’t know why single-sex spaces matter, and predatory men “are eager to erode them” – that’s why Starmer’s fudge fails utterly. He may think his poll lead is so great he can afford to treat the issue lightly. “As Nicola Sturgeon discovered, that’s a foolish assumption to make.”