PUBERTY blockers should only be available to people over 18, a Conservative MP has said.

As MPs debated a public petition on making non-binary a legally recognised gender identity in the UK, East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton compared the medicine to cosmetic surgeries.

The former minister said puberty blockers have “life changing impacts on those children, far more than a tattoo or a temporary suntan or even a breast enlargement operation would have”.

The Argus: East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton

He said: “Yet if you challenge that, if you question whether those children are actually capable of thinking through the consequences and cognisant of the implications for the rest of their lives to make that decision, with or without parental responsibility being involved, then you are subject to cancel culture.”

The petition, which calls on the government to “make non-binary a legally recognised gender identity in the UK”, attracted more than 140,000 signatures from across the country.

It added that recognising non-binary as a “valid gender identity” could “aid in the protection of non-binary individuals against transphobic hate crimes, and would ease gender dysphoria experienced by non-binary people”.

The Argus:

Elsewhere in the Westminster Hall debate, Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher said parents whose children identify as non-binary or trans should “push back” and tell them to be “proud of who they are". 

The Conservative MP said:“If your child comes home with these concerns, talk to them but be strong.

“Do not ever give into them or to peer pressure from other adults.

“Your child was born a boy or girl. Be proud of who they are. Tell them to be proud of who they are."

Mr Fletcher said he accepted that non-binary people “do exist”, but did not agree that legal recognition was needed.

He added: “If they say they are unhappy, think just for a second how unhappy they will be when their best friend is having a child and they can’t, when their best friends are dressing up beautifully and they are having to shave.

“What makes you sure they will be happy then?”