Clive Lewis, the Labour MP for Norwich South, has criticised his party leader Keir Starmer for comments he has made about trans rights.

The Labour leader has said he has “concerns” about the Scottish government's reforms to the process by which someone is able to change their legal gender, citing a potential impact on UK-wide equalities law.

The devolved Scottish government at Holyrood has proposed dropping the age limit to 16 for people to change their legal gender, as well as cutting the amount of time the process takes from two years to a matter of months.

In a weekend interview, Mr Starmer said he believes 16-year-olds are too young to change their legally-recognised gender. 

Eastern Daily Press: Sir Keir Starmer MP, Labour party leaderSir Keir Starmer MP, Labour party leader (Image: James Manning/PA Wire)

But Norwich MP Mr Lewis accused his leader of being “logically inconsistent” in saying that.

“I don’t know how many 16-year-olds he’s met, but we as a party have a policy of votes for 16-year-olds [in general elections],” said Mr Lewis. 

“If Keir Starmer believes those people should have the right to vote for him to be prime minister, then surely they should also have the right to determine their gender - so there’s a logical inconsistency in that reasoning.”

Mr Lewis added that he was “fully supportive” of his party colleagues in the Scottish parliament, the majority of whom were in favour of the reforms. 

One of those colleagues, Monica Lennon MSP, has accused Mr Starmer of “undermining” the party’s position on the issue in Scotland.

“I think trans rights are human rights,” said Mr Lewis, who added that he was concerned about the UK government’s decision to block the bill. 

UK ministers say the draft law would conflict with equality protections applying across Great Britain.

There are fears that allowing anyone to "self-identify" as a woman could affect women's rights and access to single-sex spaces like refuges and changing rooms.

Eastern Daily Press: Mr Lewis said he believes trans rights are human rights and that he is concerned by the UK government's attempts to block the reforms in ScotlandMr Lewis said he believes trans rights are human rights and that he is concerned by the UK government's attempts to block the reforms in Scotland (Image: PA)

Mr Lewis said the issue came down to “the right of the Scottish people and the Scottish Parliament to make a decision on this - and this is a devolved matter as far as I’m concerned”.

He added: “I think this is a test issue of whether the Scottish people inside the United Kingdom have the right to make decisions about how they’re governed on basic things like that. 

“It should be for the Scottish parliament - and there’s overwhelming support [there] for this [set of reforms].

“It’s wrong, I think, for this government to try and block that.”