RISHI Sunak has vowed to change equality laws to prevent “confusion” on sex and gender” – sparking accusations he is stoking “phony culture wars”.

The Prime Minister has said he wants to change the Equality Act to define the protected characteristic of sex as “biological sex”.

Sunak (below) said: “The safety of women and girls is too important to allow the current confusion around definitions of sex and gender to persist.

The National: Rishi Sunak

“The Conservatives believe that making this change in law will enhance protections in a way that respects the privacy and dignity of everyone in society.”

This would mean that those who are biologically male but who identify as female would be barred from using single-sex spaces.

The Tories are facing questions over whether this would mean people would need to produce their birth certificates to access single-sex spaces.

Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch sowed confusion over the party’s stance on Monday morning – claiming the party did not want to alter the law and instead wanted to clarify it.

READ MORE: 'Deep regret' as historic Scottish cinema closes with all staff made redundant

And she was unable to say whether someone’s original birth certificate – or one amended after a legally-recognised gender change – would define biological sex in such cases.

Pressed repeatedly, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “What you are describing is a hypothetical scenario, assuming that when people go into rape crisis centres they’re bringing in birth certificates, they’re bringing in gender recognition certificates.

“What is happening at the moment is that people come to the centres and they are visibly of a different sex. You don’t always need your birth certificate when you’re going to the toilet and so on and so forth.”

The National: International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch

Badenoch (above) continued: “This is not a paperwork issue. This is a practical issue.”

The Tories have also insisted their proposed changes would not remove existing protections for transgender people on the basis of gender reassignment provided by the Equality Act.

Speaking on LBC radio, Badenoch said: “We want people to have privacy and dignity. This is about protecting those who are vulnerable, it is not about stopping trans people from having privacy and dignity.

“That’s why we have said you should have unisex toilets, a disabled toilet is an example of that, or where there are shared spaces, they should be on the basis of biological sex.”

She added: “Changing your clothes doesn’t change who you are, we want people who are trans to be protected as well, people who want to change their clothes should not be able to exploit the scenarios we have prepared and the laws we have put in place to protect those people who are genuine transgender people, those who suffer gender dysphoria.

READ MORE: Tributes paid to 'dearly loved' doctor who died in paddleboarding incident

“Just putting on a different set of clothes does not make you transgender.”

Labour’s John Healey (below) said his party would not amend the Equality Act if it wins the election because there are already provisions to protect single-sex spaces.

The National: John Healey

The shadow defence secretary told Times Radio: “It already provides a definition of a woman, and sex and gender are different. What is needed is clearer guidance for service providers, from the NHS to sports bodies, and in prisons, on what single-sex exemptions need to be, and the best way to be able to do that is in guidance, not primary legislation.”

He said the Tory announcement was a “a distraction from the election campaign” which Healey claimed was about the cost of living crisis.

The Liberal Democrats criticised the Tory policy as a “cynical distraction from their failings on so many issues”.

Deputy leader Daisy Cooper told LBC: “I think the Government is failing on so many counts – time and again we have seen how it tries to wage these phony culture wars.”