LANDMARK trans guidance for schools was today in chaos after tough measures were ruled unlawful.
Rishi Sunak has been forced to delay publication of the rules – due this week – which would tell headteachers how to deal with kids wanting to change genders.
GettyTrans guidance for schools was due this week[/caption]
Ministers have been working on the long-awaited guidance for months but recently came under intense pressure from Tory MPs to be more hardline.
Attorney General Victoria Prentis said some of these stronger proposals would only be possible if the law was changed because they clash with the Equalities Act, which enshrines gender reassignment as a protected characteristic.
They included a blanket ban on pupils socially transitioning, or forcing kids to get a doctor’s letter if they wanted to switch gender.
Before being hardened, the original draft guidance would allow children to identify as the opposite gender with their parents’ permission.
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It was not intended to be legally binding meaning it could be given to schools without passing new laws.
But Mr Sunak – who had promised the guidance before the end of the summer term – is now considering whether to ram through fresh legislation to keep the tougher policies.
He said today: “This is a really complex and sensitive issue because it affects the wellbeing of our children.
“And it’s important that we get it right, given those complexities and sensitivities.
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“I’m committed to bringing forward that guidance but I want to make sure that we take the time to go through it properly.”
Downing Street today could not say when the guidance would be released, with fresh legislation now not possible until after the summer.
And senior government figures were tonight in disarray about how the guidance would progress.
Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch has been reported to have been pushing the stronger measures.
Allies of Education Secretary Gillian Keegan deny rumours of a rift with Ms Badenoch and insist they are on the same page.
Pals of Ms Prentis – who issued her judgement last week – say she also favours “punchier” rules on social transitioning but is duty bound to warn of the legal flaws.
Tory MP Miriam Cates – a vocal opponent of kids switching gender – said it was more important ministers get the guidance right than rush out a weaker version.
She told Times Radio: “I am disappointed that it’s not been published yet. But I do think that it’s more important to get it right than to get it out quickly, because we are talking about the safeguarding of children.
“It’s quite a disturbing phenomenon, and we really need to get it right, both legally and morally and from the point of view of workability for schools. So it’s better to not release it than to release a bad version.”