Shadow minister criticises Kathleen Stock for being LGB Alliance trustee

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The shadow equalities minister has entered the controversy over the Sussex philosophy professor Kathleen Stock, criticising the academic’s role as a trustee of an activist group accused of anti-trans campaigning.

Stock has attracted protests over her views on gender identification, and last week was the victim of a poster campaign at the university’s campus in Brighton that accused her of transphobia and called for her to be sacked.

Stock has said she believes gender identity is not more important than biological sex – “particularly when it comes to law and policy” – and that people cannot change their biological sex.

In a letter apparently replying to a constituent, Taiwo Owatemi, the Labour MP for Coventry North West and the shadow equalities minister, said: “I am greatly concerned by [Stock’s] work as a trustee for the LGB Alliance group.”

Related: Professor says career ‘effectively ended’ by union’s transphobia claims

Owatemi said she had read the “strong and principled” request from the Sussex branch of the University and College Union for a university-wide investigation of “institutional transphobia”, which earlier this week caused Stock to say the union had “effectively ended” her academic career at Sussex.

In a later statement, Owatemi said: “I was clear in this letter that I was not passing judgment on Prof Stock’s academic work, and did not call for action to be taken against her.”

Most of the letter was devoted to Owatemi’s criticism of the LGB Alliance, saying that the group “should be rejected by all those who believe in equality. They oppose reform of the Gender Recognition Act, which has long been the position of my party and to which we remain committed.

“Furthermore, the group opposes LGBT+ inclusive education [and] believe that adolescents should not be able to access puberty blockers (in flagrant disregard of the entire concept of ‘Gillick competency’).”

She also claimed the group had criticised measures to make conversion practices illegal and refused to condemn those who were against same-sex marriages.

“Every single one of these stances is diametrically opposed to my beliefs and the position of my party. I note that an appeal against their charitable status is due to take place next year, and I will be monitoring the case with keen interest.”

Related: Row looms over Tory conference invitation to gay lobbying group accused of transphobia

LGB Alliance activists and supporters rejected the claims. Bev Jackson, one of the alliance’s co-founders and a trustee along with Stock, described Owatemi’s comments as a “catalogue of lies” in a tweet. “Spreading despicable lies about a charity is unworthy of any MP, let alone the shadow women & equalities minister,” Jackson wrote.

LGB Alliance was formed two years ago by a group unhappy at the pro-trans rights positions taken by Stonewall, the LGBT+ charity. The alliance campaigns for rights “based on sexual orientation not gender identity” and denies it is transphobic.

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