Great Britain

Speaker condemns threats to MPs as Rosie Duffield skips Labour conference in trans rights row

The Speaker of the House of Commons has expressed support for Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who says she won’t attend her party conference amid a dispute with gay members over her stance on transgender rights.

The Canterbury MP has decided to stay away from the annual gathering, which takes place in Brighton next week.

She says she has been been branded transphobic for “knowing that only women have a cervix”.

“LGBT+ Labour now seem to hate my guts and I feared they’d have a massive go at me at conference,” Duffield told the Sunday Times.

“The people who threaten me I don’t think are actually likely to harm me. They just say it often and very loudly.”

Sir Lindsay Hoyle spoke out at a meeting of parliamentary heads in Chorley, Lancashire, where the safety of elected politicians was discussed.

“Parliamentarians, who have been elected to speak up for their constituents, should be able to attend their own party conference without fear of harm,” he said.

“Too many people have been targeted for their opinion or the office they hold. In order to protect democracy, we need to ensure those participating can do so without threats of intimidation.”

Duffield, who chairs the Women’s Parliamentary Labour Party, said she took the decision not to attend conference “not because I really thought I was going to be attacked, but because I did not want to be the centre of attention.”

Jess Phillips, the shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, told the newspaper: “I am supportive of any woman who feels they face a security threat.”

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