No conference for Labour MP branded online as 'transphobic'

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Rosie Duffield says most of her attackers are 'straight white men' - or women who want to be seen as very woke - Geoff Pugh
Rosie Duffield says most of her attackers are 'straight white men' - or women who want to be seen as very woke - Geoff Pugh

A Labour MP has been forced to pull out of the party conference over her transgender views after extremists threatened her security.

Rosie Duffield, the Labour MP for Canterbury, was forced to pull out of next week's conference in Brighton over the level of online threats she has been subjected to from transgender activists.

Ms Duffield, 50, said she was branded transphobic after she said “that only women have a cervix".

On her decision not to attend the conference, she told The Sunday Times: "We have had Labour MPs who have had to have security at conference over the past few years, and I didn't want that sort of attention or to become the story. I just thought it was better for everyone if I quietly stayed away."

She added: "LGBT+ Labour now seem to hate my guts and I feared they'd have a massive go at me at conference.

"The people who threaten me I don't think are actually likely to harm me. They just say it often and very loudly."

Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, said it was "unacceptable that anybody feels unsafe" going to the Labour conference.

When asked on The Andrew Marr Show whether "someone who thinks that only women have a cervix" is welcome at the conference, Mr Khan said: "They are. One of the things about the Labour Party is it's a chance to debate, discuss, have disagreement in a respectful way.”

Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Lib Dems, was asked on the same show what was wrong with the phrase "woman - adult human female", relating to Natalie Bird, 40, who was earlier this year banned from standing as a Lib Dem candidate in any circumstances for ten years because she wore a T-shirt which had that phrase on it.

Sir Ed was unable to answer the question, despite being asked numerous times.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, intervened on the matter with a statement which said: "Parliamentarians, who have been elected to speak up for their constituents, should be able to attend their own party conference without fear of harm.

"It is why we chose to discuss the security of MPs, their staff, journalists and other public figures at our G7 Speakers' conference this weekend, because too many people have been targeted for their opinion or the office they hold.”

Sir Lindsay said that in order to “protect democracy” the Government needed to “ensure those participating can do so without threats of intimidation”.

Ms Duffield also told the newspaper that she believed some of the people who attack her online are "straight white men".

She said: "There are some women who get involved and want to be seen to be very woke ... but mostly it is men, and the same men that have trolled me ever since I got elected.

"So it looks like, feels like and smells like misogyny, and this is just the latest cause they have latched on to ... The fact that I am blonde — they call me a bimbo. The fact that I don't like antisemitism. There is always something, but it is always the same people who attack me."

Ms Duffield said she was "exhausted" and had felt "frightened" by the abuse and has discussed her security with Hoyle, the chief whip and Kent police.

She added: "For the first time in my life, having been an ambassador for a gender-balanced 50:50 parliament, I would hesitate to encourage other women to come into politics.

"I would have to really think about what I was asking them to do, and putting people into this position when they are going to be on the front line of some pretty shitty abuse."

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