Rishi Sunak mocks trans women in leaked video footage

Rishi Sunak

British prime minister Rishi Sunak has been secretly filmed mocking trans people in footage shared exclusively with PinkNews.

Sunak was caught on video joking about “women having penises” and making fun of Lib Dem leader Ed Davey for supporting trans rights.

The footage is from a party with the 1922 Committee – a group of all-Conservative MPs that meets weekly when Parliament is sitting – on 5 June 2023.

PinkNews has seen an exclusive photograph from the event, and it is estimated that up to a hundred MPs were in attendance, including notable Tories such as 1922 Committee chair Sir Graham Brady and veteran’s affairs minister Johnny Mercer. Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering, and Desmond Swain, MP for New Forest West, were also at the gathering.

Sunak’s address and his choice of humour, which dehumanises and ‘others’ trans women and is met with raucous laughter from Tory MPs, suggests that the PM is keen to maintain his anti-trans stance when speaking to colleagues without the media being present.

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In the leaked recording, Sunak can be heard saying: “It shows his spectacular misjudgement and why he’s completely unfit to lead our country.”

It is unclear who Sunak is referring to, but likely to be the Labour leader Keir Starmer, who has also come under fire for appearing to support proposals for schools to ‘out’ trans pupils to their parents.

“Over the same period of time, you might have noticed Ed Davey has been very busy,” Sunak continues.

“Like me, you can probably see that he was trying to convince everybody that women clearly had penises.

“You’ll all know that I’m a big fan of everybody studying maths to 18, but it turns out that we need to focus on biology.”

Here, Sunak references his plan to get all students to study maths up to age 18. It is unclear how the government intends to provide the extra staff needed to make this proposal a reality.

The person who shared the video with PinkNews said: “The veneer of freedom of speech publicly is one thing but to make jokes in private, it’s another thing altogether.

“You wouldn’t make jokes about other marginalised people the way he did about trans people.”

They added: “There was laughter, there were quite a few younger attendees who looked visibly uncomfortable.”

Sunak’s mention of ‘biology’ and the use of trans women as a punchline appears to demonstrate the prime minister’s willingness to adopt so-called gender-critical lines and attack the trans community when addressing his own MPs in private.

An unnamed senior Tory MP told PinkNews: “It is profoundly depressing – this whole ‘othering’ of minorities – pretty much any minority.

“Without stopping to think we have equalities legislation for a reason, to stop discrimination against anyone with a protected characteristic – we should be trying to understand and support, not belittle and demonise.”

In April 2023, Sunak agreed with the statement that “100 per cent of women do not have a penis” while speaking to Tory-supporting website Conservative Home, in an apparent attempt to differentiate himself from Keir Starmer, who told the Sunday Times: “For 99.9 per cent of women, it is completely biological, and of course they haven’t got a penis.”

Sunak has also signalled plans to re-write the Equality Act to bar trans women from single-sex spaces including changing rooms and sporting competitions.

The prime minister oversaw the unprecedented use of a Section 35 order in January, blocking Scotland’s historic Gender Recognition Reform Act, which sought to make life easier for trans people by allowing them to gain legal recognition without the need for a medical diagnosis.

PinkNews has contacted Rishi Sunak for comment.

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