Lib Dem women’s group claims the party has banned promotion of event over trans views

Lib Dem women’s group claims party has banned promotion of event over trans views. (Photo: Getty Images)
Lib Dem women’s group claims party has banned promotion of event over trans views. (Photo: Getty Images)

A Liberal Democrat women’s group claims it has been banned from promoting an event at the party’s conference over its position on trans people.

The organisation, called the gender-critical Liberal Voice for Women, has said it has not been allowed to promote a gathering due to "censorious forces at work in the party".

The group is hosting a panel near the conference centre in Bournemouth, with former BBC Radio 4 presenter Jenni Murray listed as their headline speaker, to discuss "the importance of the material fact of sex for women and girls".

But the party has stopped them from both running events on-site or having a stall in the exhibition area.

Zoe Hollowood, who chairs Liberal Voice for Women, said the ban meant party members were being stopped from "learning" about the issue.

She said that Lib Dem MPs were being "sheltered from reality and end up getting in a muddle about women with penises on TV".

Ms Hollowood added: "It is also particularly regrettable from our perspective as it means members don’t get to hear from us directly about what we actually believe. Meanwhile, smears about us continue to go unchallenged within the party.

"There is an abusive climate that leaders need to get a handle on."

A spokesperson for the Lib Dems said the same rules applied to all groups.

The spokesperson said: “No groups are allowed to hand out promotional material within the conference centre. This rule applies to everyone.

"Party members submit dozens of motions for discussion at conference and sadly we don’t have time to debate them all.”

The spokesperson added: "We are debating a range of policies to deal with the cost of living emergency and NHS crisis caused by this chaotic Conservative government."

It comes after the Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey was criticised earlier this year after he said some women could “clearly” have a penis, in a debate over trans rights.

In May a caller named Mary asked him on LBC to explain “what is a woman”. Sir Ed told her “the vast majority of people whose biological sex is a woman when they were birth (sic), they feel they’re women ... but there’s this very small number of people who don’t feel like that”.

Presenter Nick Ferrari then asked: “Can a woman have a penis?” The Lib Dem leader replied: “Well, quite clearly.”

Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith slammed Davey for being “out of touch”.

He said: “Once again we see how out of touch the Liberal Democrats are when faced with basic questions of common sense. It just goes to show the danger that a coalition with Labour would bring, with what is effectively the anti-women alliance.”