Lib Dem leader Ed Davey accuses Boris Johnson of trying to ‘stir division’ on trans rights

Ed Davey has criticised Boris Johnson's stance on trans rights.

Boris Johnson has stoked a “culture war” on trans rights that is “unacceptable”, says Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Asked by BBC Radio 4 whether there are “places in our society where biological males can’t go” – meaning trans women – Davey said: “No.”

He also accusing Johnson of “making it a culture war” and appealed for a “mature, open, tolerant debate” instead.

Johnson and the Tories are “trying to stir division in our country, division on this issue, division on issues around race”, Davey said, continuing: “I don’t think that’s acceptable.”

“If you’re a real statesman, if you want to bring people together, you don’t stir up divisions, the way that Johnson’s doing,” Davey added.

Davey, who’s been leader of the Lib Dems since 2019, made his comments about trans rights ahead of his party’s conference, which is being held online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey and trans rights

Ed Davey is the MP for Kingston and Surbiton, in south London, and is one of the only leaders of a major political party in the UK to have his pronouns in his social-media bios.

Trans rights were a major plank of his 2019 leadership bid, and under him the party has committed to reforming gender-recognition laws after plans to do so were scrapped by the Tories in 2020.

Davey sought throughout his leadership bid to position the Lib Dems as the party of trans rights. In tight contrast to Labour, whose leaders, critics say, often engage in logistical jujitsu to avoid making firm statements, Davey has made his views neatly clear.

“Trans rights are human rights,” he tweeted in June 2020, urging followers to write to their MP to demand GRA reform.

In August 2020, the new Lib Dem leader expanded his position while talking to LBC emphatically throwing his support in favour of gender recognition laws that allow trans people to self-declare their gender without the need for a medical diagnosis.

“A woman is defined by the individual,” Davey said.

“If a person believes they are a woman, a trans woman is a woman, that’s my view, it’s the party’s view and it’s the view of many other people.

“We had this same argument when Liberal Democrats were pushing through and arguing for same-sex marriage legislation.

“Giving trans women and trans men rights and protecting them doesn’t undermine the rights of others.”