LGBT+ Labour, Labour Students and Young Labour have called on the party to withdraw the whip from Rosie Duffield after the MP for Canterbury reportedly said she would rather be arrested than call Eddie Izzard a woman.
According to Kent Online, when asked about the possibility of misgendering a person being made a hate crime, Duffield said at a conference of the LGB Alliance: “Is that a serious thing? Is that coming to parliament any time soon? I hope not because you might as well arrest me now. I’m not calling Eddie Izzard a woman.”
Izzard launched a bid to be selected as the Labour candidate in Sheffield Central constituency at the next general election. She is one of six who have put themselves forward to replace outgoing MP Paul Blomfield.
Labour Students published a statement on social media on Monday saying that “Duffield’s behaviour has gone beyond the pale and we echo LGBT+ Labour’s calls that she should lose the whip”, arguing that the MP for Canterbury has “consistently gone out of her way to damage the trans community”.
LGBT+ Labour first called for Duffield to have the Labour whip withdrawn in July last year, as well as urging the party to suspend her, alleging a “pattern of LGBT-phobic behaviour” on the part of the MP. The group retweeted Labour Student’s statement this week, stating: “Our position on this has not changed.”
Nabeela Mowlana, elected as chair of Young Labour earlier this year, released a statement this week saying that the national committee of the group “unanimously stands against transphobia” and called for the whip to be withdrawn.
The candidates in the running to represent Labour in the Sheffield Central constituency at the next general election also published a statement calling out “transphobia” and “racism” directed at those standing earlier this week.
All six of those longlisted in Labour’s selection process for the seat – Jayne Dunn, Mike Buckley, Rizwana Lala, Paul Mason, Eddie Izzard and Abtisam Mohamed – said they were “appalled by the significant amount of vitriolic abuse that has been directed towards candidates, including racism and transphobia”.
“Nobody should be subjected to persistent and targeted abuse because of who they are, how they identify or their race or ethnicity,” they added.
“Sheffield has a proud history as an open, inclusive and anti-racist city. As prospective Labour candidates we champion these values and condemn the abuse directed at anyone, including those putting themselves forward to be the next Labour MP of Sheffield Central. We stand in solidarity with all candidates.”
A Labour Party spokesperson told LabourList: “All complaints are taken seriously and assessed in accordance with our rules and procedures.”
Rosie Duffield has been contacted for comment.