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Kent MP Rosie Duffield says she will not call Eddie Izzard a woman

Outspoken Kent MP Rosie Duffield says she would sooner be arrested than call Eddie Izzard a woman.

The transgender comedian, who has launched a bid to stand as a Labour MP, announced two years ago the decision to use 'she/her' pronouns.

Canterbury's Labour MP Rosie Duffield
Canterbury's Labour MP Rosie Duffield

But Ms Duffield, who represents the party in Canterbury, railed against the idea of 'gender self-identification', speaking out at a conference of the LGB Alliance - a campaign group that claims to advance lesbian, gay and bisexual rights.

When asked about the possibility of misgendering someone becoming a hate crime, the 51-year-old said: "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, 60, announced two weeks ago a plan to stand for Labour in the Sheffield Central constituency at the next General Election.

Last month Ms Duffield said she would quit the party if Labour allowed the comic to stand for a seat on an all-woman shortlist.

Speaking during a Labour Women’s Declaration discussion group at the Labour Conference, she said: "I will not be a hypocrite and I won’t lie and I won’t say that a man is a woman. Eddie Izzard is not a woman.

"I’m absolutely not the only Labour woman MP who will leave the party if Eddie Izzard gets on to an all-women shortlist."

Eddie Izzard is campaigning to stand as a Labour MP. Picture: Ian West/PA
Eddie Izzard is campaigning to stand as a Labour MP. Picture: Ian West/PA

Ms Duffield has previously come under fire for her opposition to “male-bodied biological men” being allowed to self-identify as female in order to access women-only spaces such as prisons and domestic violence refuges.

Last year she responded by saying she is "not remotely transphobic".

"I can’t imagine wanting to discriminate or hate a group of people just for who they are and how they want to live," she told GB News.

“I don’t talk about trans rights because I think it’s not my place to talk about trans rights. Trans people have got some great organisations and they’re very good at representing their rights, and that is just as it should be.

“Trans rights are the same rights as everyone else, but what concerns me is that there is a slight conflict in some cases between trans rights and women’s rights.

“Women’s rights are why I came to Parliament, and why I’m sitting here, because women are now visible in Parliament.

Kent MP Rosie Duffield says she would sooner be arrested than call Eddie Izzard a woman
Kent MP Rosie Duffield says she would sooner be arrested than call Eddie Izzard a woman

Ms Duffield was also criticised last year for repeatedly calling trans women “male-bodied people” during an interview on the BBC Politics Show.

Fellow guest Ellie Mae O’Hagan, of the CLASS think tank (Centre for Labour and Social Studies), hit back at the MP during the segment, saying her views may be “upsetting” for trans women to hear.

“When we’re saying that a small group of people should not be allowed to live as they are because other people might be upset about it, well that is the very essence of discrimination,” she said.

“I want the viewers at home to really think about why it might be upsetting for a transgender woman...to have somebody in public life who’s a representative of the public and has a big public platform and a lot of responsibility call them ‘male-bodied people’.”

“I grew up in a very strong feminist household, and what really concerns me are the rights of women to have privacy and space, and the necessity to be in women’s refuge – not shared with someone with a male body.”

A row erupted in 2020 after Ms Duffield liked a tweet by Piers Morgan. The TV presenter had said "Do you mean women?" in response to a tweet by CNN which used the phrase "individuals with a cervix".

Ms Duffield said she “sometimes” wishes she had never waded in to the debate, but added: “I think I just saw all this hatred towards other women who were speaking about it, and I didn’t really open my mouth.

“I liked a man’s tweet, and, since I liked a man’s tweet, more has been written about my opinion than I had any idea about."

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