Bridget Phillipson Anneliese Dodds
© Anadolu/Getty ; ReutersDowning Street revealed both Bridget Phillipson (L) and Anneliese Dodds (R) would hold the title of women and equalities minister in the new Government
One thinks trans women with penises can use female loos and another who said there are 'different legal definitions' for 'a woman'

JK Rowling launched a fresh attack on Labour as Sir Keir Starmer appointed two women and equalities ministers to sit around his Cabinet table.

In a surprise move, Downing Street revealed both Bridget Phillipson and Anneliese Dodds would hold the title in the new Government. It led to confusion about who would ultimately be in charge of fulfilling Labour's pre-election promise to 'simplify' the process for trans people to legally change gender.

Rowling this morning questioned the choice of Ms Dodds for the role, having previously clashed with Ms Phillipson over Labour's stance on transgender issues.

jk rowling transgender opposition
© Debra Hurford-BrownJK Rowling has hit the headlines since 2019 for her views on transgender issues
The Harry Potter author used social media to highlight an answer by Ms Dodds in 2022, when the Labour frontbencher was asked about her party's definition of a woman.

'I have to say that there are different definitions legally around what a woman actually is,' she replied in a BBC interview at the time.

She added: 'I think it does depend what the context is surely. I mean surely that is important here.'
rowling tweet transgender issue
© J.K. Rowling/XRowling used social media to highlight an answer by Ms Dodds during a BBC interview in 2022, when the Labour frontbencher was asked about her party's definition of a woman
Prior to the general election, Rowling agreed to a meeting with Labour following her repeated attacks on the party over gender issues. It came after the author said she would 'struggle to support' Labour in last Thursday's vote, despite having previously been a party donor.

Rowling this morning revealed she had backed an independent candidate in her Edinburgh constituency last week, rather than vote for Labour.

Last month, Ms Phillipson - who is also now the Education Secretary - sent a message to Rowling after the author accused Labour of 'abandoning women' over its stance on the rights of transgender people

Rowling also claimed Sir Keir had been 'dismissive and often offensive' of women's concerns about sex-based rights.

Asked for her response to Rowling, the Labour frontbencher told the BBC:

'I say that it's also very personal to me.

'I want to make sure that women get the support and the justice that they deserve, and that we do make sure that we've got services that are available for women around rape and sexual violence.

'There are important provisions already there within the Equality Act that allow for single-sex provision and it's important those are maintained.'

Days later, Ms Phillipson suggested trans women with penises could use female lavatories under Labour's plans to make it simpler to acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate.

During a quizzing on Times Radio over her party's proposals, she was asked: 'I am someone who is biologically a male, but I have changed my gender.

'I've got a certificate to prove it, and I'm now a trans woman. Where would I go to the toilet? The men's toilet or the women's toilets?'

Ms Phillipson replied: 'So, you don't police how people use toilets in that sense.

'But I would expect that if you were someone that had gone through that formal process of recognition you are, to all intents and purposes, for legal purposes, regarded as being in a different gender regardless of the sex into which you were born.'

Pressed again to answer the question, she added: 'I would think that in those cases people would be using female toilets.'

In a later radio interview, Ms Phillipson refused to answer eight times when asked which lavatory she thinks a trans woman with a penis should use.

Comment: "Journalists" must lose more than a few neurons every time they write such twaddle.

As well as being women and equalities minister, Downing Street confirmed this morning that Ms Dodds would also attend Cabinet in the role of international development minister.

She had been Labour Party chairman prior to the general election, but has since been replaced in that role by Ellie Reeves, the sister of Chancellor Rachel Reeves.

Downing Street attempted to clear up confusion about both Ms Dodds and Ms Phillipson being appointed as women and equalities minister.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: 'Anneliese Dodds will be the minister for women and equalities and will be, as I understand it, attending Cabinet.

'But for sort of constitutional purposes you also need someone who's a full Cabinet member (Ms Phillipson) having the brief as part of their role, but for all intents and purposes, Anneliese Dodds will be the lead minister.'

It was recently reported that Labour is considering appointing Harriet Harman as new head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The veteran politician, who was last week nominated for a peerage by Sir Keir, is known as a 'trans ally' after she previously said 'women are also women who are trans women'.