SIR Keir Starmer has insisted “almost nobody” is asking him about issues around gender recognition. 

The Labour leader said he wondered “why on earth we spend so much of our time discussing something which isn’t a feature at the dinner table or the kitchen table or the cafe table or the bar.”

The comment came in an interview with LBC on Monday morning and followed on from remarks over the weekend where he said 99 per cent of women did not have a penis. 

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Sir Keir has faced criticism over his party’s confused approach to trans issues. 

Two years ago, he said Labour was committed to “updating the [Gender Recognition Act] to introduce self-declaration for trans people.”

And just before Christmas, Labour’s MSPs were whipped to vote for the Gender Recognition Reform Bill in Holyrood. 

However, since then the party has seemingly moved away from its full-throated support for the policy 

Last month, during a visit to Cumbernauld, he said it was "not a priority for the Labour party."

While Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar said the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon was a “reset opportunity” for the entire debate.  

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Over the weekend, asked about women's rights, Sir Keir told the Sunday Times: "I think there is a fear that somehow there could be the rolling back of some of the things that have been won.

"There are still many battles that need to go ahead for women and I don't think we should roll anything back."

Asked whether a person with a penis can be a woman, Sir Keir said 99.9% of women "of course haven't got a penis.”

When asked today about the comment, the Labour leader told LBC he was not making a precise claim on numbers, but rather making the point that for the “vast, vast, vast majority’” of women gender is biological. 

He said he was trying to set out “a common sense, respectable, tolerant position. 

He added: “As we go around the country campaigning, I talk to thousands and thousands and thousands of people and they want to talk to me about the cost of living crisis, they want to talk to me about the fact they can’t pay their bills, they want to know what they’re going to do about their council tax.

“Almost nobody, but nobody, is talking about trans issues. And I do sometimes just wonder why on earth we spend so much of our time discussing something which isn’t a feature at the dinner table or the kitchen table or the cafe table or the bar.”

During the interview, he also said his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, was never a friend.

Labour last month confirmed that the veteran leftwinger would not be the party’s candidate for the Islington North constituency at the next general election.

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Asked about the relationship between the two men, Sir Keir said: “I think and hope that my position is very clear. Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour candidate at the next election.

“That is a decision of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee of two weeks ago now, so as we go into the next election Jeremy Corbyn will not be a Labour candidate.”

Pressed about whether Mr Corbyn was ever a friend, Sir Keir said: “No, not in the sense that we went to visit each other or anything like that. I worked with him as a colleague.

“As I say, I haven’t spoken to him now for two-and-a-half years.”

Sir Keir also insisted he had not backed Mr Corbyn’s leadership of the party, but had accepted a role in his shadow cabinet to maintain an “effective opposition”.

He said: “Let’s just run through it. I didn’t vote for him in 2015 when he stood as leader. I wanted him to stand down in 2016, he won again. I again didn’t vote for him.

“But I did take the view that we needed an effective opposition, that I shouldn’t just walk off the stage.”

During the 2020 leadership contest, Sir Keir described Mr Corbyn as both a colleague and a friend.