POLITICS

Jeremy Corbyn Slaps Down Labour MP Over Women-Only Train Carriages

“The response was that people don’t want them: end of.”

24/08/2017 16:12 BST | Updated 26/08/2017 00:20 BST

Jeremy Corbyn has slapped down a Labour MP who suggested he should back female-only train carriages to protect women from sex attacks. 

Shadow minister Chris Williamson faced fury from women’s rights campaigners after saying the carriages were an “idea worth exploring” as they could reduce sexual offences and create “safe spaces”.

Opponents said the move would “normalise attacks” and the focus should be on perpetrators, but the concept first emerged for Labour during Corbyn’s first leadership election campaign. 

Now, the leader has said the policy is permanently off the table. 

Clodagh Kilcoyne / Reuters
Corbyn has distanced himself from the idea of women-only trains

Asked if he would revisit the idea, he told HuffPost UK: “No. It was there [during his leadership campaign] as a discussion item which was taken out of context.

“The response was that people don’t want them: end of.”

He also revealed that he has agreed Sarah Champion would continue Labour Party work with women who had been abused, despite her resignation as shadow women and equalities minister. 

Champion resigned after writing a column in The Sun which warning Britain has a “problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”.

After sharp criticism of the article as “racist” she attempted to distance herself by claiming the content had been altered. But The Sun countered that the column was approved by the MP’s team. 

PA Wire/PA Images
Labour MP Sarah Champion who has resigned as shadow women and equalities secretary and apologised for her "extremely poor choice of words"
 

Corbyn said: “I have got a lot of time and a lot of respect for Sarah and her work with women. She is going to carry on doing that and we have agreed on that.

“I will be appointing someone to replace her and we will carry on representing all communities in this country and we will not be demonising any one ethnicity.” 

Corbyn also sounded a warning to other Labour MPs. 

He said: “We mustn’t demonise a community of people because the actions of people in abusing women, abusing children and grooming is illegal, is appalling and is wrong and they of course should be prosecuted for it. 

“But you cannot say it is a feature of an entire ethnic community, it has to be a feature of those that undertake those criminal actions.”