Trans women can be excluded from some “women-only” spaces, Keir Starmer’s team said today.
A spokesperson for the Labour leader was pressed on his position after MP Rosie Duffield said she had decided to stay away from party conference, citing threats of violence over her comments on transgender rights.
The spokesperson confirmed the party had not changed from their manifesto position and said he had “no reason” to expect it would change.
Asked if trans women should be allowed in all public spaces, he told journalists: “Our position on this hasn’t changed.
“What we have said is that Labour would work to update the gender recognition act to enable the process for gender self identification and we also continue to support the implementation of the equality act, including the single sex exemption, which allows the provision of women-only spaces.”
Asked to qualify Labour’s position after the briefing, a source pointed out that the equality act “rightly assumes the inclusion of trans women, except in specific circumstances”.
Earlier in the briefing, the spokesman was also asked about Duffield missing conference over concerns for her safety and added: “Rosie Duffield has set out her position in terms of conference. As we’ve said all along, we take the safety and security of everyone attending conference very seriously and we believe that debate should always be held in an atmosphere of respect for all points of view.”
Asked what Starmer was going to do about the threats Duffield has faced, he replied: “In terms of the specifics, Keir met with Rosie Duffield yesterday following on from her request for a meeting.
“He also met with the LGBT caucus within the PLP and as well to discuss the issue.”
Duffield has come under fire for comments she has made on transgender rights and claims she was branded transphobic for “knowing that only women have a cervix”.
The MP for Canterbury decided to stay away from conference after receiving advice that her safety and security could be at risk if she chose to attend.