Rosie Duffield: Trolls and fixated individuals have made hustings attendance impossible

Rosie Duffield said the trolling was 'affecting my sense of security and well-being'
Rosie Duffield said the trolling was 'affecting my sense of security and well-being' - Julian Simmonds/Telegraph

Rosie Duffield, the gender-critical Labour candidate, has said she will not be taking part in local hustings because the “constant trolling” she has suffered online has made her fear for her safety.

Ms Duffield, who is running again to be MP for Canterbury, said her attendance at the events was “impossible” because of the actions of a “few fixated individuals”, who had pursued their “spite and misrepresentation” with “a new vigour” during the election campaign.

The 52-year-old feminist campaigner has been subject to fierce criticism from trans rights activists, who take issue with her belief that a person’s sex cannot be changed.

Her gender-critical views have also put her on a collision course with her own party, which she has accused of having a “woman problem”.

In a statement on Friday evening, posted on X, formerly Twitter, Ms Duffield said she would not be attending hustings in her constituency because she did not feel able to give a “clear presentation” of Labour’s commitments while fearing for her wellbeing.

She blamed “certain people” for the “trolling, spite and misrepresentation”, without specifying who she was referring to.

She also revealed that she had invested her own time and money on personal security.

‘Difficult decision’

In her statement, Ms Duffield said: “Today I have made the extremely difficult decision not to attend local hustings events during this general election campaign. Hustings are usually an enjoyable and interesting part of any political campaign, but sadly the actions of a few fixated individuals have now made my attendance impossible.

“The constant trolling, spite and misrepresentation from certain people - having built up over a number of years and being pursued with a new vigour during this election - is now affecting my sense of security and wellbeing. The result is that I feel unable to be focused on giving a clear presentation of the Labour Party’s manifesto commitments.”

She added: “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. This has a very real effect on democracy and MPs should be able to meet with and talk to all of their constituents, particularly during an election period.

“I hope the other candidates feel able to enjoy what will be for most their first hustings experience, that is free from abuse and interruption, and I will no doubt see them during the rest of the campaign. I will be holding several secure local events in the coming weeks so that constituents can indeed put their questions to me.”

Ms Duffield has been a longstanding advocate of gender-critical ideology, which emphasises the importance of biological sex and single-sex spaces for women.

The Labour candidate, who has represented Canterbury since 2017, has regularly complained about her experiences in the party, and last year likened it to being in an abusive relationship.

She has previously been heckled by male colleagues on her benches while speaking about trans issues in the Commons, prompting her to accuse Labour of having a “woman problem”.