Gay Labour MP Wes Streeting named Labour’s health secretary

Gay Labour MP Wes Streeting named Labour’s health secretary

A politician at a podium with two microphones stands infront of a red screen.

Prime minister Keir Starmer has named gay Ilford North MP Wes Streeting as the UK’s health secretary. 

Starmer is currently putting together his Cabinet after Labour’s landslide win in the general election. With two seats still to declare, they will have 412 MPs in the new parliament.

The result was a crushing and historic defeat for former prime minister Rishi Sunak, as the Conservatives lost 250 seats.

Streeting has been one of Starmer’s closest allies. In 2021, he became the shadow health and social care secretary. The former Stonewall campaigner was elected as an MP in 2015, the same year as the Labour leader.

However, as the votes were counted in his constituency last night, Streeting came nail-bitingly close to losing his seat. He received 15,647 votes, while Independent candidate Leanne Mohamad – who ran a pro-Palestine campaign in opposition to Starmer’s stance on the war in Gaza – managed to get 15,119.

News of Streeting’s appointment will come as something of a worry to LGBTQ+ activists, considering he has made it clear that he wants to bar trans women from single-sex hospital wards.

Wes Streeting.
Wes Streeting is the new health secretary. (Parliament)

In January, he voiced his support for putting transgender hospital patients in their own, separate ward. In the weeks and months leading up to the general election, Streeting also faced criticism from the LGBTQ+ community for suggesting that he regrets once saying that “trans women are women, trans men are men… get over it”.

His public U-turn on gender identity came in the wake of the publication of the Cass Report, an independent review which examined the structure of England’s trans youth clinics, and made recommendations on changes needed to the model of care for trans youth. The review’s author, Dr Hilary Cass, has been nominated as a cross-party peer by outgoing PM Sunak.

Streeting welcomed the guidance, which advised “extreme caution” in prescribing gender-affirming healthcare medicine, such as hormones or puberty blockers, to anyone under the age of 18.

He has also said it’s “wrong” to claim that gender-critical feminists are “bigoted”, and apologised to Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield, who has become known for her contentious views on trans people.

Last year, he said that he was “really sorry” for how Duffield’s views had previously been handled by some fellow Labour MPs, himself included.

Streeting lives with fiancé Joe Dancey, who stood in Stockton West – part of former PM Tony Blair’s old constituency – in the general election, but failed to take the seat from the Tories by about 2,000 votes.

Other cabinet appointments announced so far include Rachel Reeves as chancellor – the first woman to hold the post – and Angela Rayner as deputy prime minister. David Lammy becomes foreign secretary, Yvette Cooper is the new home secretary and Shabana Mahmood has been named as the justice secretary.

As expected, Bridget Phillipson is the new education secretary while former Labour leader Ed Miliband becomes energy secretary. Jonathan Reynolds is the new business secretary, while John Healey takes the reins at defence.

Original Source