House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has hit out at trans activists’ threats towards Labour MP Rosie Duffield after she said she will not attend the party’s conference because of the abuse she has received.
Sir Lindsay said that parliamentarians should be “able to attend their own party conference without fear of harm”, and that “in order to protect democracy, we need to ensure those participating can do so without threats of intimidation”.
Duffield, head of the Women’s Parliamentary Labour Party, pulled out after being threatened online for defending the reality of biological sex.
Duffield – a mother of two – has been branded ‘transphobic’ for affirming that only women have cervixes and for her concerns that removing single-sex spaces puts women at risk.
She told The Times that “LGBT+ Labour now seem to hate my guts and I feared they’d have a massive go at me at conference. The people who threaten me I don’t think are actually likely to harm me. They just say it often and very loudly.”
Duffield said that the abuse had left her “exhausted” and “frightened”, and she felt compelled to discuss her personal security with the Speaker and Kent Police.
The MP lamented that the abuse had meant she had started to self-censor herself in interviews and speaking engagements, adding it “can make me quite angry, because it means I am not being myself”.
Labour’s shadow economic secretary, Pat McFadden, said he was “appalled” that the MP felt like she could not attend.
He added that the party “cannot have this kind of factionalism, we can’t have this kind of intolerance”.
Last year, Oxford professor Selina Todd was assigned security after she was threatened by transgender activists.