(Photo by Nicola Tree/Getty Images)
Artillery Row

Can self-respecting feminists remain in the Labour Party?

Trans extremists are calling for Rosie Duffield MP to lose the Labour whip – yet even she is not willing to offer a full throated defence of scientific truth

Power doesn’t just come with responsibility, it also comes with a fair bit of flak online.  This weekend it was Rosie Duffield MP who found herself prodded by the pitchforks of angry Twitter users. The Labour MP for Canterbury committed the heinous sin of liking a tweet by Piers Morgan in which he ridiculed the use of the phrase “individuals with a cervix” in place of the more traditional word woman.  This prompted vigilant Labour Party activist and Canterbury resident Sarah Cundy to tweet accusing Duffield of being a transphobe in need of “booting”.  In response Duffield rhetorically asked: ‘I’m a transphobe for knowing that only women have a cervix…?!’  Calls for her expulsion and a statement from the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights followed with predictable alacrity. But the reaction to Duffield’s factual comment should not be a surprise, for many years now women within the Labour Party have been asking the same question, for doing so they have been harassed, investigated and expelled.

One such is women’s rights campaigner Venice Allan. In 2018 Allan was suspended and then investigated by Labour Party officials for stating that debate on the clash between women’s rights and those of men who identify as women was needed. She has since left the Labour Party, commenting with a wry nod to woke culture that “it is no longer a safe space for women”.  At around the same time as Rosie Duffield MP was being reported for transphobia, Allan was at Speaker’s Corner in Edinburgh arguing for freedom of speech and the right to define woman as ‘adult human female.’ She told me:

“The Labour Party is a hostile environment for women, as we can see from the hysterical response to Duffield’s (hardly controversial) assertion that only women have a cervix. I’m glad that she is finally gaining the confidence to begin to speak about this, wouldn’t it be wonderful if some other Labour MPs also stood up to defend women and children from the harms of transgenderism?”

There has been no official reaction from the Labour Party to Duffield’s comments so far, but fellow MP Jess Phillips not so much leapt to Duffield’s defence as shuffled towards it, telling Times Radio that “hand on heart” she didn’t believe Duffield to be a transphobe.  Phillips added “We have all suffered a Twitter pile-on and it just is a sort of sad indictment of our politics.” Phillips knows of what she speaks, despite firmly toeing the ‘transwomen are women’ line in public, and even advocating for the removal of the clause whereby a person wishing to change legal sex needs the agreement of their spouse, in 2018 she was bombarded with threats of violence and demands for her expulsion. Her crime?  She tweeted in support of the grassroots campaign group Women’s Place UK. Women’s Place UK are a left-wing campaign group who advocate for open debate on the proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act.

Phillips claims that the trans issue deserves proper detailed debate and attention by policy makers’ away from Twitter. This rings hollow; for over three years women within the Labour Party tried to do just that, pleading for an open discussion. I was one, on 12 May 2018, in my letter of resignation from the Labour Party addressed to my local Prospective Parliamentary Candidate I wrote:

“If Labour are to retain credibility, they must act on this issue now by at the very least supporting women’s right to discuss the impact of proposed legislative changes on existing sex-based protections.  There have been physical attacks on feminists by transactivists and we face intimidation when we try to meet.”

The response from my local Labour Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate was that she was sorry to see me go and perhaps we could meet for coffee sometime. Two weeks later and she was at a Pride march re-affirming the commitment of the Labour Party to reform of the Gender Recognition Act and reiterating her belief, that “transwomen are women”.  It was not entirely a surprise when my sitting Conservative MP increased his majority at the last election.

Three years ago I was a committed socialist, I believed in the Labour Party and didn’t want to leave. What finally made me cut-up my membership card was the refusal of those within the party to facilitate an open debate on the clash between the rights of women and the demands of extremist transgender activists. This weekend it became clear that there was at least one sitting member of parliament with whom my concern was shared, and yet she chose not to speak out; instead Rose Duffield was caught out.

Whilst the vitriol directed at Duffield is undeserved I find it hard to afford her too much sympathy.  As a Member of Parliament she has more power than most and a duty to use it in defence of the national interest. And yet Duffield was silent when Labour Party members were expelled for raising questions over the impact of gender self-identification, she wilfully ignored the violence and threats towards those wishing to discuss the Gender Recognition Act and has stayed schtum about the increasing numbers who are losing their jobs for speaking out against transgender ideology.  Had she expressed concern following the revelations on Newsnight that homophobia was driving children to identify as transgender or voiced support for JK Rowling, that would have at the very least given some hope to those in the firing-line of the culture wars.  In short, members of parliament ought to do more than defend themselves on social media, they ought to stand up for what they know to be right in parliament.

The comment that only women have cervixes is not political, it’s factual. That so few within the Labour Party are prepared to stand by this truth, and to stand-up to transgender extremists, speaks volumes of the Labour Party’s grotesque fetishization of what it sees as a fashionable minority group.  The careerism and cowardice of Labour politicians has been thrown into sharp relief by the bravery of ordinary women who have been ‘cancelled’ by the mainstream left.

Enjoying The Critic online? It's even better in print

Try three issues of Britain’s newest magazine for £5

Subscribe
Critic magazine cover