Tony Blair: A woman has a vagina and a man has a penis

Tony Blair insists the definition of what a woman is is not difficult to answer
Tony Blair insists the definition of what a woman is is not difficult to answer - Getty/Daniel Leal

Tony Blair has declared that “a woman has a vagina and a man has a penis” as he questioned why politicians had got themselves into a “muddle” over trans rights.

The former prime minister insisted the definition of what a woman is was not difficult to answer, despite the question having troubled a series of high-profile Labour politicians in recent years, including Sir Keir Starmer.

Sir Tony, who converted to Catholicism in 2007, told Holyrood magazine that some people “genuinely feel that they are in the wrong body” and they should be entitled to change their legal gender.

However, he said there must be protections for single-sex spaces, such as changing rooms and within female sport as “you have people who still have male genitalia”.

He told Holyrood magazine: “I don’t know how politics got itself into this muddle. What is a woman? Well, it’s not a very hard thing for me to answer really.

“I’m definitely of the school that says, biologically, a woman is with a vagina and a man is with a penis. I think we can say that quite clearly.

“The point is this: if people want to reassign their gender… that’s absolutely fine, and people should be entitled to do that.

“There is no doubt at all there are people who genuinely feel that they are in the wrong body.

“I completely get it.”

Sir Keir Starmer initially struggled with the question of what a woman is, before stating last year that 99.9 per cent of women 'haven't got a penis'
Sir Keir Starmer initially struggled with the question of what a woman is, before stating last year that 99.9 per cent of women 'haven't got a penis' - Getty/Justin Tallis

Sir Tony, 71, set out three “very important” qualifications, including protecting single-sex spaces, the importance of language pertaining to women’s health and greater protections for young people.

He said: “Number one, it shouldn’t stop women talking about being biological women. This idea that you can’t refer to pregnant women, I think most people think that’s completely ridiculous.

“Secondly, there may be situations, for example, where you have people who still have male genitalia but are in a changing room with women, and women will feel uncomfortable with that.

“They shouldn’t feel uncomfortable, so you’ve got to protect that.”

The General Medical Council last year removed all mention of “mothers” from a maternity document for its staff.

Sir Tony also said the decision to give people who want to change gender irreversible treatments such as puberty blockers should be given careful consideration.

The former prime minister argued that the “overwhelming majority” of Britons would agree with him that people should be allowed to change gender, subject to his three qualifications on safe spaces and sport, young people and terminology.

He concluded that it was “weird” that there was such a polarised debate about trans rights when the fundamentals apply to “common sense”.

His intervention comes after a series of Labour frontbenchers said they were unable to define what a woman is. Two years ago, Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said the issue was a “rabbit hole”.

Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury (front right), has faced a backlash for her views on transgender issues
Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury (front right), has faced a backlash for her views on transgender issues - Martin Pope/Getty

Sir Keir Starmer initially struggled with the question, before stating last year that 99.9 per cent of women “haven’t got a penis”.

Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury, has faced a backlash for her views on transgender issues, including that “only women have a cervix”.

Ms Duffield was cleared by party bosses in January after a year-long investigation into transphobia allegations.

On Sunday, Lord Cashman, a former EastEnders actor and Labour MEP, apologised after tweeting that Ms Duffield was “frit or lazy” for cancelling hustings.

Ms Duffield said she was left with no choice but to cancel after “constant trolling, spite and misrepresentation” from some had affected her “sense of security and wellbeing”.

Labour also supported Nicola Sturgeon’s controversial self-ID reforms in Scotland, which would have allowed people to change their legal gender by simply signing a statutory declaration.

Rishi Sunak’s Government blocked the plans over concerns they undermined UK-wide protections for women, including the sanctity of female-only safe spaces.

Sir Keir had pledged to introduce a similar system but last year declared that a woman is an “adult female” and he did not believe that the self-ID policy was “the right way forward”.

He said that Labour had had the “chance to reflect” on what happened in Scotland, where there was a public outcry over trans rapist Isla Bryson being sent initially to a women’s prison.

The Tories have made a general election pledge to transfer responsibility for creating new gender recognition laws in Scotland from Holyrood to Westminster, thereby preventing the SNP from trying to reintroduce self-ID.

Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, opposed the plan and said a Keir Starmer government would instead issue “appropriate guidance on single-sex spaces based on biological sex”.

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