'Utter nonsense!' Woke row erupts over collection of gender data

 Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Michelle Donelan leaves at Downing Street

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Michelle Donelan leaves at Downing Street

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 02/10/2023

- 21:52

Updated: 02/10/2023

- 21:53

Science Secretary Michelle Donelan will review how bodies collect data

A woke row has erupted as Science Secretary Michelle Donelan prepares to unveil a review into how public bodies collect data.

Donelan, 39, will announce a review into the “utter nonsense” of collecting data on self-identified gender rather than biological sex.

The announcement at Conservative Party conference tomorrow will see the Tories yet again make the most of the culture wars.

Chippenham MP will sound the alarm at what she calls the “denial of biology and the steady creep of political correctness”.

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The NHS sometimes opts to use a person’s stated gender rather than their biological sex in data.

Professor Alice Sullivan, head of research at UCL’s Social Research Institute, will head up the six month long review.

Donelan will say in her speech on Tuesday: “To those who think they have the right to impose this utter nonsense on science, let this message go out from this conference hall today… We are safeguarding scientific research from the denial of biology and the steady creep of political correctness.”

She will also say: “We are making a stand before it suffocates British identity and values entirely… That is why we are depoliticising science, because science is the most extraordinary force for good – from curing disease to growing our food – [and] we must keep it that way.”


A general view of staff on a NHS hospital wardA general view of staff on a NHS hospital wardPA

Elsewhere in her speech, the Telegraph is reporting that Donelan will say: “I think it matters when scientists are told by university bureaucrats that they cannot ask legitimate research questions about biological sex.

“And I think it matters when Scotland’s chief statistician issues guidance stating that data on sex can only be collected in exceptional circumstances.

“And I think it matters when the Office for National Statistics has to be taken to the High Court because the census guidance said it was possible to change your biological sex.”

She will add: “I think it matters that in 2021 Police Scotland announced that a male rapist who self-identifies as a women will then be recorded statistically as a female rapist by the police.“

"Any credible scientist will tell you that gender and sex are two different things… To suggest otherwise is not only scientifically illiterate, it damages scientific research and statistics in everything from population studies to medicine to sport.”

Another image of Michelle Donelan

Another image of Michelle Donelan


The review has been welcomed by the gender critical campaign group Sex Matters.

Sex Matters' executive director said: “This is excellent news and not before time, as a review is urgently needed.

“Sorting out data on sex is at the heart of solving how society protects everyone’s rights when it comes to biological sex and gender self-expression.

“This review should make it clear where data on sex needs to be comprehensive, accurate and public, and where the information may be kept private.

“Professor Alice Sullivan is an excellent selection to lead the review after her tireless work on the need for clear data on sex in the census.”

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