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Labour’s shadow equalities secretary Marsha de Cordova has been accused of snubbing an event hosted by her party’s LGBT+ group in conjunction with Stonewall.
De Cordova was invited to sit on a panel at an event titled “Labour and LGBT+ rights, where next?” with Stonewall CEO Nancy Kelley, Labour MP Angela Eagle, and two members of LGBT+ Labour.
However, de Cordova reportedly declined the invitation, The Times reports, making her the first shadow equalities secretary to not attend the annual event since it started more than a decade ago.
De Cordova reportedly rejected the invitation to the event, saying she was unable to attend due to “diary clashes”. It is understood that her team did not respond to the initial invitation for three weeks, eventually replying after organisers followed-up.
According to The Times, LGBT+ Labour offered to move the event to a time that would suit de Cordova, but they did not receive a response.
The shadow equalities secretary is now facing pressure from Labour leader Keir Starmer, who has purportedly told her to make attending the event a priority.
However, The Times suggested de Cordova has not been expressly told she must attend the event.
A Labour spokesperson told PinkNews that the party appreciates the work of both Stonewall and LGBT+ Labour, adding that it will work to ensure a senior Labour representative can attend the event.
Marsha de Cordova has been a vocal critic of the government’s LGBT+ policies
In her time as shadow equalities secretary, de Cordova has been a vocal critic of the Conservative government’s reluctance to advance LGBT+ rights.
Speaking in parliament in September 2020, de Cordova hit out at Tory equalities chief Liz Truss, saying she had “disgracefully let the transgender community down” by failing to reform the Gender Recognition Act (GRA).
Her comments came shortly after the Conservative government confirmed that it was scrapping planned reforms to the act which would have de-medicalised and streamlined the process.
Speaking to PinkNews at the time, de Cordova insisted that Labour was committed to introducing self-identification for trans people.
Despite de Cordova’s firm commitments to equality, issues persist within the Labour Party when it comes to trans rights.
Labour MP Rosie Duffield has repeatedly courted controversy over her comments about trans people online. In July, The Times and the Daily Mail reported that Duffield was being investigated by the party over her social media activity.
PinkNews has contacted the Labour Party, LGBT+ Labour and Marsha de Cordova for comment.