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The shameful smearing of Rosie Duffield

Now trans activists are accusing the gender-critical MP of anti-Semitism.

Jo Bartosch

Jo Bartosch

Topics Free Speech Identity Politics Politics UK

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Over the past few years, Labour MP Rosie Duffield’s defence of women’s sex-based rights has constantly put her at odds with the party’s trans-friendly hierarchy.

She has repeatedly stuck up for biological reality and warned of the dangers of allowing males who self-identify as women to access single-sex spaces, such as school toilets and women’s prisons. And, every single time, she has been attacked by Labour higher-ups for expressing these views.

It seems she’s in trouble again with Labour’s trans-rights faction. It was revealed over the weekend that Duffield is subject to an ongoing disciplinary investigation by Labour’s governance and legal unit for alleged anti-Semitism. No, Duffield didn’t chant ‘From the river to the sea’ at a pro-Palestine rally, or refer to Hamas as her ‘friends’, as the party’s previous leader, Jeremy Corbyn, did. Her crime was simply to ‘like’ a satirical post by Father Ted creator and gender-critical writer Graham Linehan.

On 22 March 2023, Linehan wryly posted: ‘Ah yes, the Nazis, famously bigoted against straight white men with blonde hair.’ He was responding to a sycophantic Sky News interview with comedian and trans activist Eddie Izzard in which Izzard said he considered ‘being trans a superhero thing – but if I’d lived in Nazi Germany I’d have been murdered for it’.

Izzard’s statement was historically absurd. The concept of being transgender as it is currently understood would not have been recognised 80 years ago. While many victims of the Nazis have been posthumously rebranded as trans by gender ideologues and revisionists in recent years, the fact remains that those people were murdered because they were gay or lesbian.

But a lack of historical understanding was never going to stand in the way of those wanting to land a blow on Duffield. Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar promptly drew attention to Duffield’s ‘liking’ of Linehan’s tweet. She told her 400,000-plus followers: ‘This is Rosie Duffield, a Labour MP, liking a tweet that contains Holocaust revisionism. Trans people and gay people were sent to die in concentration camps by the Nazis… This is a historical fact, and it is disgusting that a sitting Labour MP would approve of its denial.’

Within days of Sarkar’s accusation of ‘Holocaust revisionism’ and ‘denial’, Labour whip Chris Elmore requested that Duffield ‘unlike’ Linehan’s tweet on the grounds it was anti-Semitic. Duffield agreed to the request, but insisted the tweet was not anti-Semitic. And now she is being investigated by her own party.

This investigation reeks of a witch-hunt. Duffield is no more an anti-Semite than Izzard is a woman. She is the vice-chairwoman of an all-party parliamentary group on anti-Semitism. And she has long stood in solidarity with British Jews, a move which made her very unpopular during Jeremy Corbyn’s time as leader. In 2018, Corbynista members of Duffield’s constituency Labour Party in Canterbury even put forward a party motion criticising her for attending a demonstration against anti-Semitism and for speaking at the Jewish Labour Movement conference. The motion was dropped, but they had made their point.

Duffield is the sort of politician Labour should be proud to call its own. The 52-year-old left school at 16 to start an apprenticeship before becoming a teaching assistant. A one-time single mother and a survivor of domestic abuse, she has had to fight to get where she is today. At the 2017 General Election, she won the only seat for her party in Kent, and became Labour’s first MP for Canterbury in nearly a century.

Regardless of whether one agrees with her politics, Duffield is clearly a woman of integrity. She cares about the community she represents and sticks up for what she believes in. Yet for daring to suggest that men can’t become women, and for standing-up for single-sex spaces, this decent, hardworking and committed politician has been continually harassed and intimidated by many in and around the Labour Party. And now, most absurd of all, this defender of Jews is being smeared as an anti-Semite.

The cynicism of her accusers is off the charts. It is especially galling to see woke Corbynistas tarnishing her with this accusation. During Corbyn’s time as leader, they spent much of their time downplaying the extent of anti-Semitism in Labour. And now here they are, suggesting that it is Duffield who is the problem.

Labour needs to call off this cynical witch-hunt. It is grotesque to tar Rosie Duffield as an anti-Semite, particularly at a time of rampant Jew hatred. If the leadership cannot find the courage to defend her and dismiss these smears, they will rescind any claim they had left to standing on the side of women.

Jo Bartosch is a journalist campaigning for the rights of women and girls.

Picture by: Flickr.

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Topics Free Speech Identity Politics Politics UK

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