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Conservatives urged Canterbury and Whitstable MP Rosie Duffield to defect over trans row


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Tory whips have extended an invitation to Rosie Duffield to join the Conservative Party after her voicing her internal struggles with Labour over transgender issues.

The Labour MP for Canterbury and Whitstable has been told she would be welcome to cross the political divide should she wish to do so.

Labour MP Rosie Duffield did not attend the party's conference in Brighton last month
Labour MP Rosie Duffield did not attend the party's conference in Brighton last month

But it is understood she has no intention of defecting to the Tories, adding "I'm Labour through and through", The Times has reported.

The same newspaper says that Duffield, who won her marginal constituency in 2017, had been approached privately and told that the Tories were supportive of her stance on trans issues, according to a Conservative source.

Ms Duffield has been criticised over her belief that trans women should not have access to single-sex spaces such as lavatories, changing rooms and domestic violence refuges.

She did not attend the Labour Party conference last month after being told that her safety and security could be at risk.

Ms Duffield claims she has been branded transphobic for “knowing that only women have a cervix” and has received torrents of online abuse and threats since tweeting as such. Two of her staff members quit last year over her views.

Rosie Duffield MP has called for a meeting with Labour leader Keir Starmer to discuss the issue.
Rosie Duffield MP has called for a meeting with Labour leader Keir Starmer to discuss the issue.

Last month she responded to Canterbury City Council on Twitter after the council leader Ben Fitter-Harding also commented on her liking transphobic tweets.

Ms Duffield, who chairs the Women’s Parliamentary Labour Party, has called for talks with party leader Sir Keir Starmer – who criticised her stance – to address the issue.

She previously told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Lots of women have been asking to meet with Starmer in groups or one-to-one about this issue.

"Obviously he's incredibly busy but it would be good to just clarify what our position is as a party and just discuss how we go forward with this issue.

She added: "I think it's really necessary that we actually talk about this subject."

However, both Labour and the Conservatives are divided on trans issues.

Liz Truss MP and the Conservatives also face internal disagreement over trans rights. picture: Mark Bullimore Photography
Liz Truss MP and the Conservatives also face internal disagreement over trans rights. picture: Mark Bullimore Photography

The splits on the Tory side were documented at last week's party conference, amid controversy over the decision to allow LGB Alliance, a lobby group, to set up a stall.

The organisation – which was recently awarded charity status – says it represents lesbian, gay and bisexual people and has come under fire for arguing that there is a conflict between LGB rights and trans rights.

Before the conference, Liz Truss’s policy adviser, Jamie Hope, told Tory headquarters that he did not believe it was advisable to allow LGB Alliance to attend.

Ms Truss, who is the women and equalities secretary as well as foreign secretary, said last week that Rosie Duffield should be able to assert that “only women have a cervix”.

The minister has lowered the cost of legally changing gender from more than £100 to £5 but has resisted calls to allow people to do so without a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

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