Labour MP Rosie Duffield on BBC’s Politics Live. (Screen capture via Twitter/@BBCPolitics)
LGBT+ Labour are calling for Rosie Duffield to lose the whip and be suspended from the party after an alleged “pattern of LGBT-phobic behaviour” from the Canterbury MP.
This includes a “recent endorsement” of “extremely homophobic and transphobic comments” by Rosie Duffield on social media, according to LGBT+ Labour. The group is calling it a “consistent pattern of behaviour”.
“We have been concerned with the transphobic interactions on Rosie Duffield’s social media profiles for over a year,” said Alex Beverley, chair of LGBT+ Labour.
“During that time, we have tried to constructively engage with her and have repeatedly called on the leadership to take clear and decisive action.
“We feel we have exhausted all other options and now must publicly call for the whip to be removed from Rosie Duffield and for her to be suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party,” Beverley said.
LGBT+ Labour’s statement comes after Duffield liked a tweet by Kurtis Lemaster yesterday (25 July) that stated the word “queer” is being reclaimed by “heterosexuals cosplaying as the opposite sex and as ‘gay’”. According to LGBT+ Labour, Lemaster has previously been arrested on terrorism charges.
This latest plea for Keir Starmer to do something about transphobia in the Labour Party comes after LGBT+ Labour called on him to take action in January, saying then that Duffield’s anti-trans activity was “intensifying”.
Rosie Duffield’s history of anti-trans activity
The row began at the start of August 2020, when Rosie Duffield insisted that “only women have a cervix” and doubled down on accusations of transphobia by labelling the backlash against her comments a “tedious Communist pile-on”.
Despite criticism from the LGBT+ community for excluding trans men and some non-binary people, Duffield, who was elected Labour’s first-ever Canterbury MP in 2017, spent the next 10 days liking anti-trans tweets.
She then issued an apology insisting that she had “always” supported trans rights and had been “hurt greatly” by the accusations of transphobia levelled against her.
After the second woman resigned, Duffield outed her on Twitter – leading to the trade union for MP’s staff condemning Duffield for “abusing her position” and calling for the Labour Party to immediately launch a formal investigation.
The GMB Members’ Staff union said Duffield’s actions had left the staffer “vulnerable to online abuse and fearful for her safety”.
Joe Vinson, national secretary of LGBT+ Labour, said that Keir Starmer must withdraw the whip from Duffield.
“The Labour Party has a proud history on LGBT+ rights, but history is not enough,” Vinson said. “LGBT+ rights, and the fight against discrimination, is an ongoing battle that is never over.
“The Labour Party is historically the party of equality, but to remain so it must put words into action – and show zero tolerance to homophobia and transphobia from its members – including its MPs.”
PinkNews has contacted the Rosie Duffield, who has repeatedly denied she is transphobic, for comment.