Rosie Duffield should be able to disagree with Labour party policy without fearing for her safety

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 (Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)
(Daniel Hambury/@stellapicsltd)

Rosie Duffield, the Labour MP for Canterbury, can’t attend her own conference because of concerns for her safety. Since her announcement at the weekend there has been silence from the party leadership and from many of those on the Left who have been “debating” the merit of her statement rather than being outraged.

Duffield, who is also chair of the Women’s Parliamentary Labour Party, is not the first female Labour MP to fear her own side Ruth Smeeth and Luciana Berger both took bodyguards to the Labour conference during Jeremy Corbyn‘s leadership.

As depressing as all this is it’s also not surprising. I know what it is like to fall foul of the progressive Left and the abuse you get when you do. My crimes were twofold.

First, I started a campaign against FGM which was deemed culturally insensitive to the Somali community, of which I am a member. This was enough for me to be blocked by my local Labour MP on Twitter and feel so unsafe and unwelcome that I left Bristol for London.

But as horrific as it was, the experience was nothing compared to the trolling I got for having the audacity to stand for a Women’s Party in a seat held by Labour. There was of course no chance that I would win, but I was not prepared for the abuse I experienced at hustings and online, abuse that led to death threats and being obliged to employ security.

This state of affairs is beyond scary and weakens our democracy. Women should be able to disagree with policies or views of the party they belong to and when they do they should not have to fear for their lives.

The Labour Party is very far from the party I joined as a teen - I won’t be voting for them until they address their deep-rooted issues with women, as well as with anti-Semitism.

As with many others who have publicly supported Duffield, I know that I am going to get a lot of abuse from Labour members and those on the Left for expressing this opinion, but I can take it. I won’t be silenced and I hope those who can do something know that my criticism comes from love for the party and our democracy.

I’m glad the UK finally has another female Foreign Secretary

I am thankful the UK finally has another female Foreign Secretary. Having met Liz Truss, I can tell you she does not suffer fools gladly and that’s what we need.

From telling off the Tory MP who objected to the FGM legislation to leading of the G7 gender advisory council, she is an aspirational pro-women figure to project across the world at a time when female leadership is lacking. Since Covid began, FGM, child marriage and other forms of abuse the UK had been leading on ending have lost the priority they once had. But with a woman who champions equality daily as Foreign Secretary, I am hopeful things will change.

Going on holiday during Covid is a shambles — we need a better way to help us stay safe

I took my first holiday in two years last week and thanks to the million Covid-related forms I had to fill in, I think I need another week off to recover. I know it is a privilege to go away and I was thankful to have a break, but to spend hours before you even get to the airport downloading and filling out forms, then pay for tests again and again, is just too much. Please can we develop a better way to help us stay safe and sane.

What do you think of Rosie Duffield’s statement? Let us know in the comments below.

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