THE Scottish Greens have said that “trans rights are not safe under Labour” after Keir Starmer spoke out about Scotland’s gender reforms.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Starmer, who previously spoke of his “concerns” about the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, addressed his party’s position on the subject.

The legislation was blocked by the UK Government back in January despite being overwhelmingly passed by MSPs.

On the bill, Starmer told The Sunday Times: “The lesson from Scotland is that if you can’t take the public with you on a journey of reform, then you’re probably not on the right journey.

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“And that’s why I think collectively there ought to be a reset in Scotland.”

Previously, Starmer’s “concerns” related to the age at which people would legally be allowed to change their gender.

It led to cracks appearing within the Labour Party as MSP Monica Lennon said that she was “very disappointed” with Starmer after his comments.

Meanwhile, Scottish Greens equalities spokesperson Maggie Chapman told The National: "Keir Starmer has for months shown total disregard for the rights of trans people in Scotland and around the UK.

“He has been repeating toxic Tory talking points and legitimising the views of a hostile and anti-trans government that is riding roughshod over devolution by overruling a legitimate, democratic decision of the Scottish Parliament.

The National: Monica Lennon previously said she was disappointed with Keir Starmer's stance on gender reformMonica Lennon previously said she was disappointed with Keir Starmer's stance on gender reform

“The message that he is sending is that trans rights are not safe under Labour. This is further evidence of Starmer’s shameless lurch to the right in an attempt to gain power by betraying his party’s traditional values.”

In response to Starmer’s comments, SNP MP John Nicolson tweeted: “This isn’t leadership. ‘If you can’t take the public with you on a journey of reform, you’re probably not on the right journey.’

“Wrong. We’d never have had gay decriminalisation or death penalty abolition if politicians had echoed populist prejudices.”

Speaking to The National, Nicolson added: “Leadership isn’t always about appeasing the tabloids or echoing the loudest populists.

“It’s sometimes about standing up to bullies. If Keir Starmer had waited for popular support, he’d never have fought for those on death row as he did earlier in his career. 

“Time for the Labour leader to lead I think.”

Throughout his leadership campaign, new First Minister Humza Yousaf has repeatedly said he would challenge the Section 35 order which led to the blocking of the legislation.

However, he said that he would not fight a court battle if legal advice suggested the Scottish Government would fail.

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It was revealed earlier this week that said advice is unlikely to be published.

During the same interview with The Sunday Times, Starmer said: “For 99.9% of women, it is completely biological […] and of course they haven’t got a penis.”

The Labour leader added that “there are still many battles that need to go ahead for women and I don’t think we should roll anything back”.

“I think we should go on to win the next battles for women. And that is a very important sort of starting point for this debate.”

On the issue of women’s and trans rights, the Rainbow Greens co-convener Jen Bell told The National that these should go hand in hand rather than being presented as separate.

“We’re not surprised that the leader of the party who rolled over on Section 35 has proven yet again that he is not a friend to women, trans people or Scottish democracy”, Bell said. 

“Trans rights and women’s rights are not in conflict. No woman – cis or trans – is defined by her biology.

“Time and again, Keir Starmer has chosen to repeat anti-trans talking points to pander to so-called ‘gender critical’ voices in his own party.”

The legislation which passed in Scotland last December would make it easier for trans people to acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) by dropping the requirement for a medical diagnosis, reducing the time required for the application to live in their 'acquired gender' and for the age to be lowered to 16, but with some further restrictions put in place for teenagers. 

Starmer continued: “There are some people who identify as a different gender to the one they are born with. It’s a very small number and that is why the Gender Recognition Act was passed.

“To recognise that they need legal support and a framework and most people don’t disagree with that, and that’s the framework within which we ought to look at these issues.

“But simply turning it into a toxic divide advances the cause of no one, the cause of women or those that don’t identify with the gender they were born into.

“And it’s also a pattern of behaviour of the last ten years which is now turning everything into a toxic culture, when it possibly can, which is the last resort of politicians who have nothing substantive to say on the issue.”

The Trans Safety Network also hit out at Starmer for his thoughts, saying that he was causing harm for both trans people and his own party.

On Twitter, the group said: “We note that Keir Starmer is continuing to throw the trans community – many members of whom have worked tirelessly for the Labour Party now and in the past – under the bus.

“His latest act is to publish anti-trans comments in the Murdoch press. This is unacceptable.”