Liz Truss has said allegations about transgender charity Mermaids “should be properly investigated” after a Conservative MP called for a police investigation into the organisation.
Speaking to the Prime Minister, Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates said that “serious safety deficiencies” involving mermaids had come to light in the past week, including reportedly the sending of breast-flattening devices to young girls against their parents’ wishes .
Ms Cates asked the Prime Minister if she agreed it was “high time” for a police investigation into the charity to be launched.
The Telegraph reported that the charity, which supports trans, non-binary and gender-matched children and their families, is offering stewards to children as young as 13, although their parents have said they oppose the practice.
Chest binding is opposed by some groups, fearing it causes breathing difficulties, back pain and broken ribs.
The newspaper also reported that Mermaid’s teenagers’ online help center has offered advice that hormone-blocking drugs are safe and “fully reversible”.
Ms Cates told the Commons: “For years, mermaids have had unhindered access to vulnerable children, despite whistleblowers sounding the alarm.
“Does my honorable friend (Liz Truss) agree that it has taken far too long for these concerns to be addressed, and does she also agree that it is high time for a police investigation into mermaid activities?”
The Prime Minister replied: “It is very important that underage teenagers are allowed to develop their own decision-making skills and are not forced into any type of activity.
“What I would say on the subject of the investigation it raises, of course these matters should be addressed and properly considered.”
The Charity Commission has opened a compliance case at the organization following a series of complaints and this is the regulator’s first step and not a finding of wrongdoing.
A spokeswoman for the commission said: “We have had concerns about the mermaids’ approach to protecting young people. We have opened a regulatory compliance case and written it to the trustees. We are now awaiting their reply.”
Mermaids has been contacted for comment.