Gender Recognition

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:47 pm on 6 December 2023.

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Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities 1:47, 6 December 2023

I completely disagree with the hon. Lady. She talks about our using this issue as a culture wars football, yet the Labour Opposition spokesperson says that this is the first time that she has heard us say anything about this in the House. Surely both cannot be true. I think it is extraordinary that she is telling us that we are not compassionate. It is her Government in Scotland who were allowing rapists to be housed in women’s prisons while using self-identity as a cover, so I will not accept that. We are the ones who are thinking about women’s rights. We are the ones who are thinking about safeguarding. We are the ones who are thinking about vulnerability.

The hon. Lady asks me about reciprocal arrangements. The fact is that our system is a lot more rigorous, so there is no reason for others to stop accepting our certificates because they have not changed. It is because other countries have changed their process that we are updating this policy. We cannot have a situation where there are rules for people in this country and where we allow people from other countries with different rules to be able to access things that people in the UK cannot access. This is about equality before the law. This is about parity. Reciprocal arrangements will be fine. She also asked about people already living here. This is not retrospective legislation, so it will not impact people who are already here. We are just making it clear: self-ID is not something that this Government support. We do not believe that this is something that people should just declare, because that creates the very same problems that she saw in Scotland in the Isla Bryson case, with rapists going into women’s prisons. We will not allow that to happen on this Government’s watch.