Badenoch accuses ‘those with influence’ of cowardice in gender care row

Cabinet minister Kemi Badenoch has accused “those in positions of influence” of “cowardice” in a row over approaches to gender care.

Launching a broadside against politicians, police, the media and the NHS, the Business Secretary called for an “in-depth review” into public bodies and their policies on trans issues.

In her first intervention since the publication of a landmark review into child gender services, Ms Badenoch suggested areas in the NHS had been “hijacked by ideologues”.

The Cass Review published earlier this week said young people have been let down by a lack of research and evidence surrounding the use of puberty blockers and hormones.

Writing in The Sunday Times, the equalities minister said: “In the case of trans ideology, those who first publicly questioned its tenets were subjected to hysterical abuse and calumny.”

She added: “Worse than the ravings of the militants was the cowardice of those in positions of influence.

“How many university administrators, media editors, police officers and politicians preferred to keep quiet for fear of becoming the next target or in the hope of maintaining their progressive credentials?”

She added: “Had those who warned that gender services in the NHS had been hijacked by ideologues been listened to instead of gagged, children would not have been harmed and the Cass review would not have been required.”

The comments by Ms Badenoch, who is seen as a leadership favourite among Tory members, will be welcomed by some Conservative MPs to the right of the party.

But opponents who have criticised her previous rhetoric as an attack on transgender people are likely to view the intervention as a bid to reignite the so-called culture war.

The report by Dr Hilary Cass, first commissioned in 2020, concluded that gender care is currently an area of “remarkably weak evidence” and young people have been caught up in a “stormy social discourse”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said the findings “shine a spotlight” on the need to “exercise extreme caution” when it comes to gender care for children.