Labour peer calls Rosie Duffield ‘frit and lazy’ for cancelling hustings over death threats

Rosie Duffield joins campaign group Sex Matters supporters outside parliament
Rosie Duffield joins campaign group Sex Matters supporters outside parliament - MARTIN POPE/GETTY IMAGES

A Labour peer branded Rosie Duffield “frit or lazy” after she called off local hustings over safety concerns.

Lord Cashman, a former EastEnders actor and Labour MEP, has since apologised for his comments about the Labour MP, who has been vocal on women’s rights and female-only spaces.

Ms Duffield is seeking to retain the Canterbury constituency seat she has held since 2017.

Yet on Friday confirmed she would not be attending local hustings this year, telling of how the “constant trolling, spite and misrepresentation” from some was now affecting her “sense of security and wellbeing”.

In a statement on X, the MP invited constituents to register for several “secure local events” she would be holding, writing: “Since the start of this campaign, myself and many other candidates have had to be mindful of our own safety and the safety of our campaign teams.

“I’ve had to spend time and money on personal security.”

Rosie Duffield, speaking in parliament
Rosie Duffield, speaking in parliament

However, in response to a BBC article on Ms Duffield’s decision, Lord Cashman wrote on X: “Frit. Or lazy”.

Meanwhile, in another social media post, he said: “She should do the decent thing and stand down if she won’t face her constituents.”

Lord Cashman’s comments came the day before the anniversary of Jo Cox’s murder.

The Batley and Spen Labour MP was stabbed and shot by a far-Right extremist in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on June 16 2016.

And last month a man was given two eight-week prison sentences, suspended for two years, for sending Ms Duffield and author JK Rowling, who both share gender-critical views, a death threat.

The Labour MP told The Times earlier in the week that she has spent £2,000 on bodyguards while campaigning.

Former TV soap actor Lord Cashman
Former TV soap actor Lord Cashman - ROGER HARRIS

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting told Times Radio on Sunday: “I strongly disagree with Michael (Cashman).

“That is extremely unfair and I was very concerned Rosie’s not able to participate in hustings and is having to change the way she behaves because of abuse.

“That is wholly intolerable and unacceptable, as is the abuse Nigel Farage has had.

“I count Michael and Rosie as friends and this is exactly the kind of division I’ve been working really hard to try and work through and heal.”

Women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch tweeted: “I can’t imagine what it’s like being Rosie in a party where her own colleagues continually attack her, just for standing up for women.”

The Tory MP added: “This is now about more than women’s rights, but how a party manages internal disagreement. Instead of healthy debate, it’s intimidation and abuse.

Flowers and tributes left outside parliament after the death of Jo Cox
Flowers and tributes left outside parliament after the death of Jo Cox - NICK EDWARDS

“If this is what they do to their own, imagine what they will do to our country.”

Posting later on X, Lord Cashman said: “I apologise unreservedly for a post that I put out regarding the Labour candidate for Canterbury. I fully understand any complaints that will be sent to the Labour Party.”

The Jo Cox Foundation, set up in her memory, has condemned violence against candidates after Reform UK leader Mr Farage was attacked, including with a milkshake.

Ms Duffield previously claimed that she had been given the cold shoulder by the Labour leadership over her views on trans issues.

Last month, she complained that Sir Keir Starmer offered her “no apology” when the two finally spoke after she told a whip she had not been talked to in two-and-a-half years.

The Telegraph has approached Ms Duffield for a comment.