Mordaunt hits back at ‘smears’ on transgender views


Tory leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt has claimed she has been ‘smeared’ following new allegations about her views on transgender issues.

The Minister for International Trade has dismissed claims that she ever pursued a policy of self-identification for trans people seeking to legally change their gender after news reports appeared to cast doubt on her earlier denials.

In the first televised debate on Friday, Ms Mordaunt clashed with Liz Truss and Kemi Badenoch after claiming they were responsible for the policy reversal she championed as equality minister.

However, The Sunday Times said it had seen government documents which appeared to suggest Ms Mordaunt supported removing at least one element of the medical process required for transgender people to transition legally.

He said another February 2020 article confirmed government support for self-identification ended after she was replaced as responsible minister.

Ms Mordaunt told the BBC’s Sunday Morning program that she had never advocated ending the requirement for trans people to get a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria before they could legally change their sex.

“This has been repeatedly denied. We all know what’s going on. This is the kind of toxic politics people want to get away from,” she said.

“We did a consultation. We asked health professionals what they thought of the situation. This is the section I took care of. I managed this consultation. During my shift, we did not produce a policy.

“There are a number of slanders in the newspapers. My colleagues are very angry and upset that this is how the leadership contest is slowed down. »

However, Ms Badenoch’s campaign manager, Tory MP Lee Rowley, told Sky News: ‘Penny has a series of questions to answer.

The row comes as MPs prepare for Monday’s third round of voting, which will see the remaining candidates reduced from five to four.

Ms Mordaunt finished an unexpected runner-up in the first two polls and her supporters believe she is being targeted by rivals who fear she could risk being ousted from the final poll of party members.

Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak during the first leadership debate (Victoria Jones/PA)

The claims relate to his time as a minister under Theresa May when she was defense secretary but was also responsible for women and equalities.

The Sunday Times quoted a memorandum written in July 2019 to Ms Mordaunt and senior officials which stated: ‘At present applicants are required to provide two medical reports: a diagnosis of gender dysphoria (which we now intend to delete) and a report detailing any medical treatment received.

“There is no requirement to have undergone medical treatment as part of the transition, and the contents of the report have no bearing on the panel’s decision, so it is not clear what practical value this report current has in the process.

“However, this element of the process goes to the heart of whether we have a system that is essentially self-identification, or whether there are external controls in place.”

A spokesman for his campaign said the leaked documents prove that all department ministers at the time wanted to maintain an element of medical involvement in the process.

However, Mr Rowley said: ‘Either Penny was okay with self-identification and now says she wasn’t – the question ‘why? Or Penny didn’t agree with self-identification, but it seems the government, the civil service and the department decided to do it anyway – the question “how did she let this happen ?”

Ms Mordaunt has also been criticized by supporters of former Chancellor Rishi Sunak for her plans to cut taxes – halving VAT on fuel and raising income tax thresholds for low and middle income people .

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab attacked Ms Mordaunt’s plans to cut taxes (James Manning/PA)

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said candidates who advocated tax cuts, such as Ms Mordaunt and Foreign Secretary Ms Truss, had to explain how they would be paid.

“You can’t get your way out of an inflation crisis,” he told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday.

“We all want to leave people with more money in their pocket. But if you cut taxes and inflation robs people of that money because it’s worthless or interest rates go up and their mortgage is more expensive, then frankly, that’s a false economy.

Former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who backs Ms Truss, also took aim at Ms Mordaunt, saying “I don’t know what her achievements are.”

Ms Mordaunt acknowledged her plans would mean the government would borrow to cover day-to-day expenses, but said those struggling with the cost of living needed help.

“We would have to adjust our fiscal forecasts but it is absolutely necessary, I think. This is, compared to other candidates, a very modest package of targeted support that I announced to help people,” she said.

Meanwhile Tom Tugendhat, who is battling to stay in the race after finishing fifth in the last poll, said he represented the “right start” the party needed after three years of Boris Johnson’s leadership.

“Two years from now we’re going to be up against Keir Starmer in a general election,” he told the Sunday Morning show.

“We have to make sure that all the lines of attack that have been used against us in the last three years do not come back in a general election.”

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