The question Andrew Marr posed to the Liberal Democrat leader seemed innocuous enough: "What is wrong with this phrase: woman – adult human female?" But Davey steered around it as if it were a lethal, baited mantrap.
In his evasive response Davey made it clear that he has committed the Liberal Democrats to the track laid by controversial LGBT lobby group Stonewall. Stonewall and their supporters believe that being a man or a woman is not a matter of biology but of gender identity. This topsy-turvy logic holds that some lesbians have penises, men can give birth and to suggest otherwise is transphobic.
Marr's 'woman question' was prompted by the case of Liberal Democrat activist Natalie Bird. Bird is a gender critical feminist who believes (as do most people) that sex is determined by genitals. In 2018 Bird incited the ire of transgender activists when she went to a meeting wearing a t-shirt bearing the phrase 'Woman: adult human female". She was consequently investigated, removed from her position as judge for the Ashdown Prize for Radical Thought and banned from any role within the party for ten years. She is now planning to sue the Liberal Democrat Party.
Bird tells me she was "extremely disappointed" with Davey's response on The Andrew Marr Show:
"It's time our politicians demonstrated some moral courage and stood up to the illiberal activists in their own ranks. We should never be ashamed of protecting vulnerable women."
It's easy for Davey to blithely state that spaces like women's refuges should be open to all; it sounds inclusive and progressive, an easy Liberal win. But having left an abusive relationship herself, it's important to Bird that women like her have privacy to recover without men, regardless of how those men identify. She is far from alone.
Another woman for whom single-sex spaces matter is Rosie Duffield MP. In 2019 the Labour member for Canterbury moved MPs to tears with a heartfelt speech about her own experience of domestic abuse. And yet today she is once again being subjected to harassment, this time from within her own party. For tweeting 'only women have cervixes' Duffield has not only faced condemnation from fellow MPs, but threats so severe as to prevent her from attending the Labour Party conference. This morning Duffield confirmed on the Today programme that Labour leader Keir Starmer has yet to find time to meet with her, he is reported to have instead sent her a text. It was left to House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to speak out in her defence
Party apparatchiks within Labour and the Liberal Democrats have cracked down to prevent members discussing who should have access to women-only space. In frustration, earlier this year many gender-identity dissenters migrated to the Greens pinning their hopes on Shahrar Ali, a leadership candidate standing on a sex-based rights ticket. But Ali seems set to lose to front-runners Omond and Womack, both of whom take the Stonewall line that "transwomen are women".
The Tories are split on the 'woman question' but at least equalities ministers Kemi Badenoch and Liz Truss have been free to speak their minds. Whilst Starmer is too weak to stand-up for survivors of abuse within his own party, and Davey swerves basic questions, Johnson is free to bumble-on in well-advised silence.
Nearly one hundred years since the passing of the Equal Franchisement Act and today politicians pretend not to know which sex were prevented from voting. It shows how low the bar has been set, that a Prime Minister once criticised for quipping that women go to university to find husbands, is more sympathetic to feminists than the alternatives. Johnson is not an obvious feminist champion but given his innumerable offspring at least voters can be sure he knows the difference between the sexes.
- Could the Lib Dems spark the centre into life?
- Tim Farron’s pledge to voters: Lib Dems won’t make coalition deals
- Vince Cable plans to remain as Lib Dem leader 'until he is 95'
- Labour party pledges to outlaw all zero-hours contracts
- London’s Khan Calls for Cancelling Brexit, Labour to Back Remain
- Farage’s Secret Weapon: Annunziata Rees-Mogg Defects from Tories to Join New Brexit Party
- Labour Allows Bearded Man to Stand For Woman-Only Role Because He ‘Identifies’ as Female Once a Week
- Live: Busing cruises back into Dem debate
- Biden bites back: Key moments from the second Dem debate
- Pinkerton: Cuomo & Northam vs. Trump — the Democrats’ Abortion Extremism Brought the Life Issue Back to Life
- Tory donor's role at corporate watchdog under scrutiny
- Jamie Clayton, Jen Richards Call Out Matt Bomer, Mark Ruffalo for Casting Cis Male to Play Trans Woman in
- Live: Dems in Detroit address Flint's water crisis
- Live: Dems address racism, reparations at Detroit debate
- Dems hunt for a win as they struggle in Kavanaugh battle
- Dems in 11th District congressional primary ready to boot Pelosi
- BuzzFeed: Rising Dem Stars ‘Believe Israel is a Rogue State’
- Live: Dems clash on health care at Detroit debate
- Steve Hilton: GOP Needs to Champion ‘Universal Free Market Healthcare’ to Counter Dems’ Medicare for All
- Boris Johnson says he would rather stay in the EU than accept May's 'humiliating' Brexit plan
On the trans issue, Labour and the Lib Dems are playing right into the Tories' hands have 877 words, post on www.telegraph.co.uk at September 20, 2021. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.