David Lidington has admitted his views on some LGBT+ issues have changed while confirming he believes trans women are women.
Theresa May’s deputy told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that those who self-identify as women should be treated as such.
When asked by Marr whether trans women are women, Lidington said: “I think that that’s a matter for her... I think she should be treated as a woman.”
While appearing visibly uncomfortable, he added: “To be honest, Andrew, I don’t spend time perhaps thinking about this.
“I will try to deal with the person in front of me as they are with respect to that person, whatever their background, however they describe themselves, in the same way you do when constituents come to see you as a local MP.
″I think we try to categorise people, put them in pigeon holes, I think we get into all sorts of difficulties.”
Watch the clip, above.
The issue was raised after criticism last year of Lidington by LGBT+ campaigners and as the government pursues possible legislation to clarify whether trans people can self-identify.
Lidington, who is Cabinet Office minister, said that any proposal should be subject to full public consultation.
He added that he would now support legislation governing civil partnerships for same-sex couples, despite previously voting against it.
“My voting history, and free votes on this, is a matter of record, I have come at this from a traditional Christian point of view,” he said. “I have to say that I looked particular at civil partnerships came in and my own views have on that have changed.”
“Gay friends of mine have been affected for the better by that. I would not vote against that now, but I think it’s a settled issue,” he added.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also faced questions over the issue of trans women being awarded places on the party’s all women shortlists.
The policy has been challenged by some Labour members.
“If they have self-identified as a women then they are treated as a women,” Corbyn said. “Where there is self-identification... let’s look at the human beings in front of us.”