It's right to say 'women have cervixes', says Foreign Secretary

Liz Truss addresses the Conservative Party conference.(Photo: The Conservatives)

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has defended Labour MP Rosie Duffield over criticism from trans campaigners for saying that "only women have a cervix".

Truss, who is also equalities minister, told The Telegraph's Chopper's Politics Podcast that the controversy around Duffield's comments showed the "absurdity of identity politics". 

Duffield withdrew from last week's Labour Party conference over concerns for her safety after saying she had been threatened because of her trans-critical views. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer insisted she would be "safe" at the conference but did not defend her stance when questioned by the BBC's Andrew Marr, saying instead that it was "not right" to say that only women have a cervix. 

Speaking to The Telegraph from the Conservative Party conference over the weekend, Truss backed the MP and said people should be free to express such a view.

"You see the absurdity of identity politics last week at the Labour Conference, which is ending up saying 'women don't have cervixes,' or whatever," Truss said.

"[Ms Duffield] is right, that women have cervixes.

"But more than that, she's also right to be able to express her view.

"I think when we try and brush things under the carpet and can't have an open, honest and sensible debate, I think that's a huge problem for British politics."

Truss also stood by the requirement for medical evidence as one of the grounds to receive a Gender Recognition Certificate, contrasting pressure from campaigners calling for the introduction of gender self-identification.

She said "those medical checks are important". 

"I think we've taken the right approach with transgender people," she said.

"We've made the process simpler [and] we've made the process kinder.

"I have full respect for transgender people, however it wouldn't be right to have self identification with no checks and balances in the system."

In a speech to the Conservative Party conference on Saturday, Truss took aim at 'cancel culture' and promised that the Tories would "stand up for free speech". 

"We will stand up for a free press, and we will give everyone across the Britain the opportunity to succeed, regardless of background," she said.

"We reject the zero sum game of identity politics, we reject the illiberalism of cancel culture and we reject the soft bigotry of low expectations that holds so many people back."