September 26, 2021
-Daily Mail Online
Sir Keir Starmer today said a Labour MP was wrong to say that ‘only women have a cervix’.
Rosie Duffield, the MP for Canterbury, has opted to stay away from the Labour Party‘s annual conference in Brighton amid online threats from trans activists who view her remarks as discriminatory.
Sir Keir said this morning that ‘it is something that shouldn’t be said’ and ‘it is not right’.
The Labour leader said there needed to be a ‘mature, respectful debate about trans rights’ at the conference.
Asked if Ms Duffield was welcome in the Labour Party, Sir Keir told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘We need to have a mature, respectful debate about trans rights. We need to, I think, bear in mind that the trans community are amongst the most marginalised and abused communities and wherever we have got to on the law we need to go further and we want to go further on that.
‘But whatever the debate is, it needs to be a tolerant debate and I am absolutely sure that our conference will be a place which is safe for that debate to take place and it is.’
Asked whether it is transphobic to say that ‘only women have a cervix’, Sir Keir said: ‘It is something that shouldn’t be said, it is not right.’
Asked why Ms Duffield should not have made the remark, the Labour leader said: ‘I don’t think that we can just go through various things that people have said.
‘Rosie Duffield, I spoke to Rosie earlier this week and told her that conference was a safe place for her to come and it is a safe place for her to come.
‘And I spoke to others to make exactly the same principle. We do everybody a disservice when we reduce what is a really important issue to these exchanges on particular things that are said.’
Ms Duffield has faced criticism for opposing people who were born male but self-identify as trans having access to spaces such as domestic violence refuges, school toilets and prisons.
The Canterbury MP also queried being called a ‘transphobe’ for ‘knowing that only women have a cervix’.
Ms Duffield told the Sunday Times last week that she would not be attending the conference because she ‘did not want to be the centre of attention’.
She told the newspaper: ‘We have had Labour MPs who have had to have security at conference over the past few years, and I didn’t want that sort of attention or to become the story. I just thought it was better for everyone if I quietly stayed away.’