Sunak tells David Tennant 'you are the problem' over criticism of minister

Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has faced criticism over her approach to trans rights.

Rishi Sunak tells David Tennant ‘you are the problem’ over criticism of minister Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has intervened in the spat between Kemi Badenoch and actor David Tennant, suggesting the Doctor Who star is “the problem”.

Tennant suggested at an awards show he wanted a world where the equalities minister “doesn’t exist any more”, and that she should “shut up”.

The Prime Minister said: “Freedom of speech is the most powerful feature of our democracy.

“If you’re calling for women to shut up and wishing they didn’t exist, you are the problem.”

Tennant won a prize for being a “celebrity ally” at the British LGBT Awards last week and used his speech to target the equalities minister.

Badenoch has faced criticism over her approach to trans rights.

Tennant said in his acceptance speech: “If I’m honest I’m a little depressed by the fact that acknowledging that everyone has the right to be who they want to be and live their life how they want to live it as long as they’re not hurting anyone else should merit any kind of special award or special mention, because it’s common sense, isn’t it?

“It is human decency. We shouldn’t live in a world where that is worth remarking on.

“However, until we wake up and Kemi Badenoch doesn’t exist any more – I don’t wish ill of her, I just wish her to shut up – whilst we do live in this world, I am honoured to receive this.”

Badenoch hit back and said: “I will not shut up. I will not be silenced by men who prioritise applause from Stonewall over the safety of women and girls.

“A rich, lefty, white male celebrity so blinded by ideology he can’t see the optics of attacking the only black woman in government by calling publicly for my existence to end.

“Tennant is one of Labour’s celebrity supporters. This is an early example of what life will be like if they win.

“Keir Starmer stood by while Rosie Duffield was hounded. He and his supporters will do the same with the country.

“Do not let the bigots and bullies win.”

Tennant is “one of the LGBTQ+ community’s most fierce allies and supporters”, according to the British LGBT Awards, and “often does red-carpet interviews while wearing pins associated with the community, with one particular Doctor Who-themed Tardis badge, designed in the colours of the Trans Pride flag, helping to raise thousands of pounds for charities”.

He won his award alongside Soft Cell’s Marc Almond (Lifetime Achievement prize), Strictly Come Dancing’s Bruno Tonioli (Broadcaster, Journalist or Host), Rylan Clark (LGBT+ Celebrity), trans campaigner Charlie Craggs (Online Influencer) and former England forward Lianne Sanderson (Sports Personality).

On the General Election campaign trail, Badenoch has fronted the Conservatives’ pledge to clarify “that sex means biological sex in the Equalities Act”, writing in The Times that her party’s proposed legislation “will mean that for the purposes of the Equality Act, the provision in the Gender Recognition Act recognising legal sex will be disapplied”.

The Gender Recognition Act is the law which governs gender recognition certificates, which entitle people who have transitioned to a new birth certificate reflecting their acquired gender.

Rosie Duffield, who became a Labour MP in 2015, withdrew because of “constant trolling, spite and misrepresentation from certain people – having built up over a number of years and being pursued with a new vigour during this election”.

Duffield has previously said she has “feminist and gender-critical beliefs” and that she believes “male-bodied people should not be included in lists of murdered women”.

When asked about the Conservatives’ proposals earlier in June, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper accused the Conservatives of “a cynical distraction from the litany of Conservative failures to try and once again stoke up a phoney culture war”.

Labour shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson has previously urged parties to “stop this being a political football”, when asked about trans guidance in schools on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code