House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has condemned threats made to a Labour MP after she was forced to pull out from her party conference amid threats from trans rights activists.
In what is being described as an ‘unprecedented intervention’, Sir Lindsay says politicians should be able to appear publicly ‘without fear of harm’.
Ms Duffield, who won her seat in 2017 from the Conservatives, claims she has been branded transphobic for ‘knowing that only women have a cervix’.
The 50-year-old MP has also previously waded into the debate about access to female-only spaces.
She told the Sunday Times today that she has been the victim of threats and ‘misogynistic attacks’ online, including being branded a ‘bimbo’.
As a result, she will not attend this year’s Labour party conference, which begins in Brighton on Saturday.
Now Sir Lindsay has waded into the safety row, saying MPs should be able to attend their party conferences ‘without threats of intimidation’.
House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (pictured left) has condemned threats made to a Labour MP after she was forced to pull out from her party conference amid threats from trans rights activists. It comes after Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield (pictured right) revealed she would miss the upcoming Labour Party conference following threats from transgender activists
Speaking yesterday during a conference, he said: ‘Parliamentarians, who have been elected to speak up for their constituents, should be able to attend their own party conference without fear of harm.
‘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.’
Sir Lindsay’s comments were made during a conference of the heads of parliament from the G7 nations. The conference was being held in Chorley, Lancashire.
The group met to discuss threats aimed at elected politicians. The murder of MP Jo Cox by far-right extremist Thomas Mair in 2016 and the attack on America’s Capitol building earlier this year were among the topics discussed.
According to the Sunday Times, those attending the conference are set to sign a pledge later today aiming to improve the safety of politicians and crack down on social media trolling.
Meanwhile, Ms Duffield, a mother-of-two, told the paper that the online attacks on her were coming ‘mostly from men’ and ‘very woke women’.
She said: ‘There are some women who get involved and want to be seen to be very woke … but mostly it is men, and the same men that have trolled me ever since I got elected.’
‘So it looks like, feels like and smells like misogyny, and this is just the latest cause they have latched on to … The fact that I am blonde — they call me a bimbo.
‘The fact that I don’t like antisemitism. There is always something, but it is always the same people who attack me.’
She said that while the people behind the online trolling were ‘loud’, she told the Sunday Times that she did not expect to be physically attacked.
However she said that the decision to not to attend the conference was primarily down to her not wanting to make her security an issue and that she did not want to be ‘the centre of attention’.
The incident comes after Luciana Berger, then a Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, was given police protection at the 2019 following antisemitic abuse.
According to the Sunday Times, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (pictured) has contacted Ms Duffield to check on her welfare
Ms Berger, who has Jewish heritage, faced antisemitic abuse after strongly criticising then leader Jeremy Corbyn.
She later left the party to join Change UK, before quitting to join the Liberal Democrats, for whom she unsuccessfully challenged for the Finchley and Golders Green in 2019.
According to the Sunday Times, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has contacted Ms Duffield to check on her welfare.
Meanwhile Jess Phillips, the shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, has also shared her support, telling the Sunday Times: ‘I am supportive of any woman who feels they face a security threat.’
LGBT+ Labour, the Labour Campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Rights, also condemned the abuse.
In a statement to MailOnline, the group said: ‘LGBT+ Labour totally condemns the abuse and physical threats Rosie has faced.
‘We have made clear our political disagreements with Rosie on policy affecting trans people, but political disagreement should never result in abuse or physical threats. LGBT+ Labour has never conducted itself in this way and would never encourage anyone else to. It is utterly unacceptable.
‘Women in politics are subject to appalling levels of abuse and we are clear it has no place in our party or society.’