Rosie Duffield wants apology after Keir Starmer U-turns on view in gender row

1 May 2024, 19:01 | Updated: 1 May 2024, 19:07

The Labour MP said it is a "relief" Starmer has changed his view
The Labour MP said it is a "relief" Starmer has changed his view. Picture: Getty

By Flaminia Luck

Rosie Duffield has called for an apology after Sir Keir Starmer said she was right to say only women have a cervix, three years after he criticised the MP for the description.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

On Tuesday, the Labour leader revealed his changed stance in an interview on Good Morning Britain.

"Biologically, she of course is right" he said, despite the Labour MP's stance - and other views - drawing heavy criticism from her party for a number of years.

Ms Duffield told LBC it is a "relief" Starmer has changed his mind - but believes she is owed an apology.

The Labour MP said it is a "relief" Starmer has changed his view
The Labour MP has been previously slammed for her views on gender. Picture: Alamy

Ms Duffield said she believes Starmer might have changed his mind due to "pressure from unions, pressure from social media and pressure from the very young people that usually work for political parties and lobby political parties".

She added the "weight of public opinion" might also have swayed Starmer's view.

"I would imagine that the polls showed that it's a more popular position to actually stop and question rather than just completely affirm the whole sort of trans rights versus women's rights argument".

She added many politicians have been "confused" by the issue.

'Blanked and ignored'

When asked whether she is owed an apology, she replied: "What I would really like an apology for is being one of only 100 or so Labour women MPs who have been completely blanked and ignored because those groups I just mentioned had so much sway".

She added she's spent almost £20,000 on lawyers and faced tribunals.

Read more: Speaker’s anger as trans extremists keep MP Rosie Duffield away from party conference

Duffield has received heavy criticism from many groups for her views
Duffield has received heavy criticism from many groups for her views. Picture: Alamy

Ms Duffield hopes a Labour government won't bring in gender recognition laws, similar to ones in Scotland.

"I think we've come a long way to understanding that self ID is not really good enough, because it doesn't protect women" she added.

She added the "vast majority of trans people want to just live a quiet, peaceful, ordinary life - but the activists are the ones that have made women's lives hell for the last few years in some ways".

Read more: Women rounded up as first migrants bound for Rwanda held in raids, as protesters try to block vans carrying detainees

Ms Duffield last year compared being in the Labour Party to an abusive relationship after being “shouted down” in the Commons over her views on trans issues.

In December, she said Starmer had not spoken to her since 2021.

She also described Starmer as a "perfectly decent man".

"But we don't really have the opportunity to get on because I barely ever see him, actually" she added.

When asked whether that would change anytime soo, she replied: "I don't know, if it were me and I was someone who was asked constantly...whether he supports me or whether he's spoken to me, I would probably pick the phone up - because when I'm asked I could then say 'Yep I've spoken to Keir' but as it stands, I can't say that - because it isn't true".

"'I would have thought it was a lot easier for him to actually speak to me, but he hasn't...he could have probably found 5, 10 minutes to speak to me".

Starmer said that he got on “very well” with Duffield
Starmer said that he got on “very well” with Duffield. Picture: Alamy

In his first comments on gender since the publication of the Cass review, Starmer said that “biologically”, Duffield was “of course right” to say that only women had a cervix.

“She’s a much respected member of the parliamentary Labour Party and I want to have a discussion with her and anybody else about how we go forward in a positive way,” Starmer said in the GMB interview.

He added: “There’s a distinction between sex and gender. The Labour Party has championed women’s rights for a very long time.”

In September 2021, Starmer said that Duffield’s comments were “something that shouldn’t be said” and “not right”.

Asked whether he would apologise to Duffield, the Labour leader said: “I don’t want this to go back into this toxic place where everybody is divided”.

Read more: Starmer vows trans rights won't override women's rights under Labour as he urges end to 'toxic divide'