Labour MP says she ‘inadvertently misled’ parliament on Cass report

Labour MP Dawn Butler has apologised after she “inadvertently misled” parliament in a speech on the Cass report.

During a speech on 15 April, the MP for Brent Central, in north west London, commented on the report, published five days earlier, criticising its findings that a hefty amount of research into trans healthcare was of “poor quality.”

NHS England commissioned paediatrician expert Dr Hilary Cass to head the report in 2020, to help guide England’s model of care for trans youth after a rise in referrals.

The fully published report urges a “holistic” approach to treatment, while emphasising “extreme caution” in prescribing hormones of any kind to people under the age of 18.

Butler questioned why Cass had disregarded “over 100 studies” on trans healthcare.

Labour MP Dawn Butler. (Robert Perry/Getty Images)

She also suggested that health secretary Victoria Atkins was not concerned about how the report has been used by some groups to perpetuate a hostile environment for transgender people in the UK.

However, the Labour MP returned to parliament on Monday (22 April) to rescind her criticism, saying that she had “misled” parliament by quoting a figure from LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall.

“Last week, I said all trans and young people deserve access to high-quality and timely healthcare and support, and around 100 studies had not been included in the Cass report and we needed to know why.

“I was quoting Stonewall’s briefing and there was some fallout from this,” she said. “I spent the weekend in conversation with Stonewall and Dr Cass. By quoting this briefing, it seems I may have inadvertently misled the house.”

Dr Cass had made it “made it clear” that reports were included in the report and that “both high and moderate-quality research [was] considered”, Butler added.

“[She] has also said that her report is being misrepresented and hijacked,” the MP said. “Let me be clear, It’s not by me.

“My question to the minister was about additional funding for children’s mental-health services.

“This report is being hijacked by anti-trans groups and that is why it is important that we be as factual as possible about the research.”

Stonewall confirmed to PinkNews that it had reached out to Dawn Butler over the weekend.

Stonewall is the UK’s biggest LGBTQ+ rights charity. (Getty)

In a post on X/Twitter, a spokesperson said: “In early analyses of the Cass Review, it was unclear how and why the research had been graded, and the consequent impact this would have on the report’s recommendations and implementation.

“We are grateful to Dr Cass for taking the time clarify that both ‘high’ and ‘moderate’ quality research were considered by as part of the evidence review, both in the media and directly to trans and LGBTQ+ organisations.

“It is important that the confidence of trans children and young people is safeguarded during this process, and this is an important step towards achieving that aim. We have updated our MP contacts over the weekend to reflect these clarifications.”

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