Liz Truss joins Tory leadership race as Penny Mordaunt accused of throwing trans people under the bus

Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt respectively walking to No.10

Liz Truss has announced her bid for Conservative leader, becoming the 10th MP to do so after prime minister Boris Johnson resigned from the position.

Truss, who is foreign secretary and equalities minister, announced her candidacy in an article for The Telegraph on Sunday (July 10), where she outlined her vow to “cut taxes from day one”.

“It isn’t right to be putting up taxes now,” she wrote. “I would reverse the National Insurance increase that came in during April, make sure we keep corporation tax competitive so we can attract business and investment into Britain.”

Pro-LGBTQ+ advocates have lambasted Truss over the years for her stance on trans rights. As well as failing to provide adequate and much-needed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), she has also gone on record saying that the Ukrainian war would hopefully end “the culture of self-doubt, the constant self-questioning, and introspection – the ludicrous debates about languages, statues, and pronouns”.

On the same day, Portsmouth North MP and Conservative candidate Penny Mordaunt, attracted criticism for a tweet on the definition of a woman.

Mordaunt, a former equalities minister herself, has previously been praised for her trans allyship. However, in a Twitter thread, she clarified that she believes trans women are not “biological women”.

In a surprising move, the once-advocate for trans people declared that she is “biologically a woman”, saying that if she were to have a hysterectomy or mastectomy, she would still be a woman. She then used the logic to claim that those assigned male at birth who have “been through the gender recognition process” are not biological women, despite being “legally female”.

“During my tenure at [the Government Equalities Office], I challenged the trans orthodoxy with real and genuine concern, especially the volume of girls referred into trans services. I set up this inquiry,” Mordaunt continued.

The thread has seemingly alienated every side of the fight for trans rights. While former supporters of Mordaunt view her defection as “disappointing,” many so-called “gender-critical” individuals have refused to back her based on her previous allyship towards LGBTQ+ people.

“We can all see what you’re doing,” said one user.

“Joining a toxic culture war against trans people is disgusting. You should be ashamed.” Others criticised her for essentially backpedalling on a statement she made in 2021 in the House of Commons, emphasising that “trans men are men and trans women are women”.

Since prime minister Boris Johnson’s resignation on 7 July, several Tory candidates have put their names in the hat.

Many have used their platform to ensure they will turn the tide on the cost of living crisis or ensure that post-Brexit Britain remains a staunch voice on the world stage. However, some have taken the chance to further push anti-trans sentiments.

Tory MP Suella Braverman even managed to use an anti-trans dog-whistle during her declaration in an interview on ITV on July 6, saying that Britain needs to “get rid of all this woke rubbish” and for the country to embrace anti-LGBTQ+ policies once more.

“We need to get rid of all this woke rubbish and get back to a country where describing a man and a woman in terms of biology does not mean that you’re going to lose your job,” Braverman said.