‘I’m finding your answer funny!’ Michael Portillo clashes with Lib Dem MP in feisty trans debate

‘I’m finding your answer funny!’ Michael Portillo clashes with Lib Dem MP in feisty trans debate

HEATED: Michael Portillo CLASHES with Lib Dem MP

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 27/05/2024

- 10:30

Gender politics is a key dividing line between the major parties

  • Michael Portillo and Christine Jardine locked horns on whether trans prisoners should be allowed in women's prisons
  • HAVE YOUR SAY - Will gender politics sway your vote? COMMENT NOW

A gender row broke out on GB News as Michael Portillo and Liberal Democrats MP Christine Jardine locked horns on trans women being put in women's prisons.

Gender politics is a key dividing line between the Tories and Labour, with the former opposing self-ID for trans people, while Sir Keir Starmer’s party are pledging to make it easier.

Asked about her stance on the matter, Jardine told GB News: “This is a debate which, unfortunately, has got mired in toxic, unreasonable arguments.

“People making arguments from both sides have forgotten what a gender recognition certificate is, what the issue is about, that we’ve got vulnerable people we should be protecting.

“My party’s policy has always been that we should be protecting them and not making them targets or getting involved in some sort of ludicrous, toxic debate, which helps nobody.”

Portillo questioned Jardine: “Is it your party’s policy to make it easier for people to get a gender recognition certificate?”


The Lib Dem MP responded: “My party’s policy is to have a sound, reasonable, evidence-based policy going forward.

“We saw from the Cass Review that there has not been sufficient protection for young people.

“We want to take the positives from the report, move forward, look at how we do that and overcome those problems and how we protect vulnerable people.”

Portillo then moved the conversation on to ask if women who were formerly men should go into women’s prisons and be able to participate in women’s sports.

Sir Keir Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer has changed Labour policies on gender issues


Jardine said the sports matter should be decided by authorities, while violent trans women should not be put into prisons with women, a point Portillo then grilled the Lib Dem MP on.

“Where do you put them?”, he asked. “They call themselves women.

“We are looking at people who have transitioned and who are legally women”, she responded.

“If they are convicted of a crime, which is not a sexual assault-“, she added before moving to slap down Nana Akua and Michael Portillo who she spotted beaming at her response.

Trans women can be excluded from single-sex services like changing rooms and refuges - EHRC rulesCritics have raised concerns over the reduction of 'safe spaces' for womengbnews

“It’s not a funny issue, if you don’t mind me saying”, she angrily responded.

“I’m finding your answer funny”, Michael Portillo hit back.

He added: “We’re talking about people who describe themselves as women, who have themselves identified as women.

“We’re asking you which sort of jail they should go into, a men’s or a women’s prison.”

Jardine responded: “What I am saying is that if someone has transitioned and is legally a woman, then they can, as long as they haven’t committed violent or sexual offences against women and they are not a danger to anyone.”

Labour is weighing up plans to allow a single family GP, rather than two, to sign off on a gender recognition certificate, which allows a person to legally change their gender.

Starmer’s party has adopted a firmer line on the matter compared to the Corbyn era, which proposed allowing people who want to obtain a gender recognition certificate to self-identify.

On Wednesday, ahead of the election being called, equalities minister Kemi Badenoch vowed to “never stop defending” the rights of women.

She said letters from rape victims urging her to continue showed why “we must defend single-sex spaces from those who seek to delegitimise or redefine them”.

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