Desperate Rishi Sunak wages war on ‘woke nonsense’ and the Equality Act

Rishi Sunak walks towards the camera in a suit

Rishi Sunak will wage war on “woke nonsense” and overhaul the bedrock of British equalities law if he becomes prime minister.

The former chancellor of the Exchequer will say in a Saturday (30 July) speech in West Sussex that he will ensure “sex means biological sex” and will shield “women” from “erasure”, Sky News reported.

Despite saying he has “zero interest in fighting a so-called culture war”, Sunak’s speech will amount to a bingo card of the various culture wars the government has fanned against trans rights.

His main target will be the Equality Act 2010, which legally protects Brits from discrimination in the “workplace and wider society”.

“We are determined to end the brainwashing, the vandalism and the finger-pointing,” Sunak will say. “Too often, existing legislation is used to engage in social engineering to which no one has given consent

“The worst offender in this regard is the 2010 Equality Act, conceived in the dog days of the last Labour government.

“It has been a Trojan horse that has allowed every kind of woke nonsense to permeate public life.

“It must stop. My government would review the act to ensure we keep legitimate protections while stopping mission creep.”

Sunak, once the top pick for prime minister among MPs, has increasingly struggled in the polls as he falls behind fellow leadership hopeful Liz Truss.

Seemingly in an attempt to make inroads in Truss’ polling lead among Tory party members, Sunak is expected to say: “Our laws must protect free speech, block biological men from competing in women’s sport and ensure that children are allowed to be children.”

The Richmond MP will also clarify that trans people being able to self-identify does not have legal force.

Rishi Sunak, candidate to become Britain’s next prime minister, is lagging behind in the polls. (PETER NICHOLLS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

He will seek to narrow statutory guidance for schools on how they teach LGBTQ-inclusive sex and relationship education by “shielding [pupils] from inappropriate material”.

Sunak claims that “organisations like Stonewall have been able to present contentious issues as facts to school children who are in some of the most vital development stages of their lives”.

If voted Conservative Party leader, Sunak says he will tweak the public sector equality duty (PSED) to put a stop to so-called “no-platforming” that the government’s own data has suggested isn’t as big as a problem as the press make out to be.

PSED, a section of the Equality Act, means public authorities must consider how their policies or decisions impact people who have protected characteristics.

But Sunak says organisations should be “open and welcome” to people of all stripes. He will “clarify that respect for the protected characteristic of ‘religion or belief’ requires tolerance of differing political opinions, religious and philosophical worldviews”.

He will say: “What’s the point in stopping the bulldozers in the green belt if we allow left-wing agitators to take a bulldozer to our history, our traditions and our fundamental values?

“Whether it’s pulling down statues of historic figures, replacing the school curriculum with anti-British propaganda, or rewriting the English language so we can’t even use words like ‘man’, ‘woman’ or ‘mother’ without being told we’re offending someone?

“It’s not us who are the aggressors; we have zero interest in fighting a so-called culture war.

“But we are determined to end the brainwashing, the vandalism and the finger pointing.”

Scottish National Party MP Stewart McDonald slammed Rishi Sunak for stooping to tired culture war tactics when many other issues should be more pressing to the potential prime minister.

“People are facing energy bills of almost £4,000. Food prices are going up and up. Extreme weather is getting worse,” the Glasgow representative tweeted.

“Yet ‘woke nonsense’ is what a would-be prime minister – a former chancellor – wants to yap on about. Totally unfit for office.”

LGBTQ+ Twitter users raised the alarm over Sunak’s proposals.

Since Johnson took to power in 2019, the government has scrapped crucial reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, excluded trans people from its conversion therapy ban, said it’s perfectly fine to offshore LGBTQ+ asylum seekers to antI-LGBTQ+ Rwanda and instructed sports chiefs to restrict or exclude trans athletes, among other anti-LGBTQ+ policies.

But it seems Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss seem keen to continue what activists described to PinkNews as Johnson’s “legacy of oppression“.

Truss, the foreign secretary and women and equalities minister, said during a Thursday hustings that she wants to “protect single-sex spaces” and doesn’t support minors making “irreversible decisions about their own bodies”.

As much as both are hoping to woo the some 160,000 dues-paying Tory members to vote for them, polls suggest their anti-trans tactics won’t do much for the other 67 million people who live in the UK.

Tory voters are among the most indifferent to issues around trans people, according to a July YouGov survey. Issues such as the cost of living crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rank considerably higher up Brits’ list of priorities, pollster More in Common found