United Kingdom

Carrie Symonds stopped fiancé Boris Johnson ditching transgender reforms, MPs claim

Boris Johnson developed cold feet about scrapping reforms that would make it easier for people to change their legal gender after being influenced by his fiancee Carrie Symonds, Tory MPs have claimed.

The Prime Minister had been expected to declare that the Government was abandoning moves to allow transgender people to change their birth certificates without a medical diagnosis. 

However, that announcement was postponed at the last minute earlier this month.

The Prime Minister had been expected to declare that the Government was abandoning moves to allow transgender people to change their birth certificates without a medical diagnosis. He is pictured above with Carrie Symonds at the 2019 Conservative conference

It was a blow to Cabinet Minister Liz Truss, who has been fighting a ‘culture war’ within Whitehall to stop the rules being relaxed to allow biological males who identify as women to use female facilities such as lavatories.

Now MPs who supported Ms Truss’s drive have claimed privately that the Prime Minister backed away from a confrontation with trans activists on the advice of Ms Symonds – something that Downing Street categorically denies.

Mr Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, had backed the idea that trans people could self-identify as male or female and wanted to make it policy. She said in 2017 that ‘being trans is not an illness and it should not be treated as such’.

But the proposals were expected to be watered down when the Government gave its official response to a public consultation on the Gender Recognition Act, which elicited more than 100,000 responses

Ministers were poised to abandon proposals for people to self-identify their gender without the need for the approval of two doctors, and would also have introduced national guidelines to stem the increasing numbers of gender-neutral lavatories.

It was a blow to Cabinet Minister Liz Truss, above, who has been fighting a ‘culture war’ within Whitehall to stop the rules being relaxed to allow biological males who identify as women to use female facilities such as lavatories

However the planned response to the act has been delayed.

Trans rights activists within the Conservative Party say that abandoning moves to liberalise he law would be a ‘Section 28 moment’ – the law passed by Margaret Thatcher in 1988 which banned councils and schools from ‘promoting homosexuality’ – that would be ‘unpicked within years’.

One senior source said: ‘Many detect the hand of Carrie in this, but for whatever reason, Boris does not appear to have an appetite for this fight at the moment. He’s got cold feet.’

Ms Truss’s mission has been backed by Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling, who has been accused of being transphobic by highly vocal and well-organised campaigners.

After writing a lengthy essay explaining why she speaks out on gender issues last month, the author was accused by Labour frontbencher Lloyd Russell-Moyle of using her own sexual assault as ‘justification for discriminating’ against trans people.

Mr Russell-Moyle, the MP for Kemptown and Peacehaven, who is an outspoken advocate of trans rights and a leading member of the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs, accused Ms Rowling of promoting ‘hate’ towards trans people. 

A Downing Street source said: ‘This story is untrue. Ms Symonds has not discussed this issue with the Prime Minister.’

Ms Truss’s mission has been backed by Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling, above, who has been accused of being transphobic by highly vocal and well-organised campaigners

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