Doctors may no longer conduct surgery to alter the biological sex of children, the equalities minister in the UK has announced.

Liz Truss will set out details of the plans later this summer that would ban under-18s with gender dysphoria from genital reconstructive surgery.

Giving evidence to the Women and Equalities Select Committee, she said “I believe strongly that adults should have the freedom to lead their lives as they see fit, but I think it’s very important that while people are still developing their decision-making capabilities that we protect them from making irreversible decisions”.

She also said she would ensure the “protection of single-sex spaces”.

Responding to the minister’s comments, a spokesperson for Mermaids, a lobby group for transgender rights for children, said: “It would be an extraordinary move for the Minister for Women and Equalities to support the introduction of a new form of inequality into British medical practice, by effectively treating transgender teenagers as less capable than their cisgender peers.”