By Anne Belworthy
Reading recent reports about the transphobia row between the Canterbury MP, Rosie Duffield, and the leader of Canterbury City Council, Ben Fitter-Harding, made me wonder just how much longer the Labour Party hierarchy will be glad that Canterbury elected Ms Duffield as the first ever Labour MP for the city? It has certainly made many local Labour Party members begin to wonder if it was such a good result.
Keir Starmer made Duffield a Labour Whip but very shortly after withdrew it because she broke the rules of lockdown.
Duffield used parliamentary privilege to make accusations against a previous lover/fiancé of domestic abuse. Yet the best way that she could have helped other women, who may be in an abusive relationship, was to have gone to the police and reported the abuser and that would have raised the profile of domestic abuse. Instead, she used her parliamentary position to make it all about her, and thus prevented the man or his family from having a right of reply to the accusations. Again, this was a headline grabbing event – all about Rosie Duffield.
She has attracted social media attention by the treatment of staff and now has entered amazingly into the trans issue without personal involvement or with in-depth knowledge of the issue; involving herself in social media debate by agreeing with some very unpleasant statements on the issue.
Now she has managed to get more publicity for her views from the local newspapers with a row on the issue with the leader of the city council.
I have been a Labour Party member for over 60 years and I have never known a Labour MP to court such unpleasant media attention as Rosie Duffield has done. She does not take advice, disengages herself from members who ask her questions she doesn’t like, and fails to discuss issues that she chooses not to, which is very unwise behaviour for a relatively new member of the party.
At a time when the Labour Party is in turmoil with the internal disruption that Keir Starmer and his General Secretary have caused by their widespread suspension and expulsion of party members on, very often, dubious accusations of anti-semitism. To now bring in a transphobic debate is probably not something they would have wished for, and they must be beginning to wonder if they really need more of Ms Duffield’s unwelcome publicity.
Anne Belworthy is a veteran Labour campaigner, presently living in Herne Bay. A member of Labour’s Herne Bay branch, she is the delegate to the North Thanet constituency. She was the chair of Canterbury & District Pensioners’ Forum for 16 years.
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