MPs vote down ‘despicable’ bill that would force schools to out trans pupils

Andrew Bridgen, the Reclaim Party's only MP

MPs from across the political divide have condemned a bill put forward by the Reclaim Party’s only member of parliament which would have forced schools to out trans pupils and outlawed social transition. 

On Tuesday (27 June), Andrew Bridgen proposed a 10-minute rule bill on the topic of gender and parental rights in schools, calling for teachers to out pupils to their parents, ban social transition and alter the sex-education curriculum.  

This is not the first time outing trans pupils has been suggested: in April, The Sunday Times reported that Department for Education guidance suggested bringing in the move.

Bridgen, who has represented North West Leicestershire since 2010, was expelled from the Conservative Party in April after comparing COVID-19 vaccinations to the Holocaust. 

He subsequently joined Laurence Fox’s right-wing political party, whose manifesto states it will declare a war on “woke”. 

MPs ‘appalled’ by the bill’s contents

In his speech, Bridgen claimed social transition was a “conscious act of self-rejection of our biological reality”, saying he was “sickened” that those “tasked with bringing up children have turned raising the next generation into a science experiment”. 

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He said: “The issue that I bring to the House today needs a bill, the very necessity of which is both grotesque and revealing of an absurdity: the turning of a blind eye to the real-world effects that seemingly good-faith legislation has had on our education system, on schools and on society as a whole.”

Dismantling the male-female binary will “dismantle the world and pull out a foundational block of society”, he told fellow MPs. 

“Who knows where the Jenga tower may fall. But one thing is certain: the tower will fall, and we should all be ashamed that we would doom our children to such a fate.”

The MP went on to criticise using pupils’ preferred pronouns, the Equality Act and sex education in schools. 

“What is happening in our schools is unacceptable, and there is a need for immediate action. Classrooms should be a safe harbour. Inclusivity has become a double-edged sword, cutting through the very fabric of childhood. 

“Every child has the right to innocence and immunity from the sexual perversions of adults.”

Ben Bradshaw described Bridgen’s bill as “despicable”. (PinkNews)

Opposing the proposed legislation, veteran Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, said he had not intended to speak “when I came to work today” but felt compelled after being “appalled by the bill’s contents”. 

He went on: “We felt it was important to send a clear message from this place, particularly to young LGBT people and their families, that this nasty bill does not represent the views of parliament.”  

Bridgen’s bill would “turn the clock back to an age in which the very existence of trans and non-binary people… was simply not acknowledged”, Bradshaw said. 

“It would force young people to continue living in the gender assigned at birth, even when, as in the vast majority of cases, they have the full support of their parents to transition and live in their chosen gender. 

“Parents would face the impossible choice of forcing their child to continue living in the gender they no longer identify with, with all the negative, often devastating, impacts on that child’s mental health, or removing them from school and educating them at home.” 

Bradshaw went on to cite safeguarding advice by the NSPCC against outing LGBTQ+ youngsters to their families, and data from The Albert Kennedy Trust on the number of referrals they are seeing for homeless LGBTQ+ youth. 

He labelled Bridgen a “conspiracy theorist” who is “too right-wing even for today’s Conservative party”.  

He added: “This bill is not about the welfare of young people, and it is not about the smooth running of our schools. It is about a cynical but completely transparent attempt… to stoke the culture wars on the backs of our most vulnerable minority and their families. It is despicable.”

In a rare move, a group of MPs forced a vote to block the introduction of the bill, with 34 voted in favour of the proposal and 40 against. Ten Conservatives and 25 Labour MPs were among those to reject the bill.  

MPs from across the political divide voted against the bill. (PinkNews)

Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, was one of those to reject the bill and wrote on Twitter that the legislation was “about testing [the] appetite… for this kind of hateful culture war”.

She went on to say: “Proud to stand with colleagues from all sides sending a message by voting against it.” 

Tory Paul Holmes faced accusations of supporting mutilating and grooming children after voting against the bill. 

The Eastleigh MP hit back, calling the claims “utter b******s”, adding: “Read the contents of his speech and don’t just read a c**p tweet: do you honestly think I’d vote to mutilate or groom children?” 

Labour’s Nadia Whittome also took to Twitter to say: “Andrew Bridgen just attempted to introduce a bill to make teachers out trans pupils and prevent them from socially transitioning in schools. 

“While it had little hope of becoming law, these proposals put trans pupils in danger. I voted against and I’m pleased it was defeated.” 

Mick Whitley, Labour MP for Birkenhead, likened the proposed legislation to past Tory laws, saying: “Today, I joined colleagues in voting down Andrew Bridgen’s bill which would compel teachers to out their trans students.

“While the bill was unlikely to become law, these proposals put young trans people at real risk of harm. Together, let’s say no to a new Section 28.”

Ten-minute rule bills are a type of private members’ bill which backbench MPs use to make their case for a new bill in a speech lasting up to 10 minutes. They can be used to get a sense of political interest in legislation or topics.

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