The Tories are changing the law on transgender people just 3 days after Jeremy Corbyn suggested it

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Monday 24 July 2017 09:30
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Picture:(HANNAH MCKAY/AFP/Getty Images)

At a speech about job instability in July, Theresa May called on 'ideas' from opposition parties.

The setting (ironic after she'd lost the Tory's first majority in 23 years and become pretty unstable) and her request, was lampooned by the opposition and members of her own party.

It appears her wish has been granted. In at least two instances Jeremy Corbyn appears to have made demands of the government, which are then met days later.

A meme on the Facebook Page Jeremy Corbyn's Dank Meme Stash has asserted that Corbyn is responsible for the policy announcements.

Re-housing the Grenfell victims

On 16 June, the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn called for empty homes to be 'requisitioned' by the government and used to house the former residents of the Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk.

The ward where this fire took place is, I think, the poorest ward in the whole country and properties must be found - requisitioned if necessary - to make sure those residents do get re-housed locally.

It can’t be acceptable that in London we have luxury buildings and luxury flats left empty as land banking for the future while the homeless and the poor look for somewhere to live.

We have to address these issues.

The government had already committed to securing homes for Grenfell residents. The fire minister Nick Hurd vowed to leave 'no stone unturned' responding to the tragedy.

On 21 June the Guardian reported that 68 apartments within a nearby block had been purchased by the Corporation of London as social housing stock.

These were to be put at the disposal of Grenfell residents, and exist in the Kensington row scheme, approximately 1.5 miles away.

According to the Guardian, the price of apartments in the scheme start at £1.6 million.

A statement from the Department of Communities and Local Government said extra funding had been provided by the department to make the empty flats ready to move in.

So is the meme correct to assert it was Corbyn's intervention?

Sort of. The government had already committed to finding homes for the former residents, and the ones found were empty.

indy100 has contacted the Corporation of London for a technical and legal definition of how the 68 apartments were acquired for the social housing stock.

Self identifying gender

Similarly on Tuesday evening, Corbyn called for it to be possible for trans people to self identify their own gender, without a sign off from a medical professional.

Speaking at a reception held by Pink News, Corbyn said:

Discrimination has gone on too long.

The Gender Recognition Act does not allow trans people to self-identify their gender and forces them to undergo invasive medical tests.

This is wrong.

Currently those wanting to transition must apply for a certificate form the government, receive a diagnosis for gender dysphoria, and living for at least two years as a member of the opposite gender.

On Sunday, the Education Secretary Justine Greening, who is also the Equalities Minister, announced changes to the one identifies one's gender.

Under new rules people will be able to change the gender listed on their birth certificate at will, without a doctor's diagnosis.

These changes will be consulted upon, and included in a planned Gender Recognition Bill for the autumn.

The Guardian reports that before the election, and Corbyn's comments, Theresa May has said the law would be reviewed and that 'changes' had to be made.

So is the meme correct?

These changes had been recommended in 2016 by the Commons' Women's and Equalities Committee, and a proposed Gender Recognition bill was included in the last Labour manifesto.

It was absent from both the Conservative manifesto, and the Queen's speech.

While this change in priorities could be attributed to Corbyn, it could also be Greening moving up her department's agenda due to the weakened strength of the Prime Minister since losing her majority.

Whether or not Theresa May is sticking to her word and taking advice from the opposition, Corbyn's contributions cannot be dismissed as having no effect on government policy.

HT Telegraph, Guardian, Independent

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