Green Party suspends former parliamentary candidate after ‘transphobic’ heckling on Channel 4

The Green Party has suspended a former candidate for two General Elections after she was recorded heckling with “transphobic abuse” during a Channel 4 debate.

Olivia Palmer, a former candidate for the Esher and Walton parliamentary constituency, was suspended from the political party on Thursday.

Palmer’s suspension comes following comments she reportedly made on the Channel 4 show Genderquake: The Debate, which has since been heavily criticised as a “transphobic shouting match.

During the programme, Palmer can be seen and heard engaging with panellist Munroe Bergdorf in a heated manner, causing Bergdorf to ask for her to be removed and debate host Cathy Newman to reprimand Palmer.

Palmer as seen in the audience (Channel 4)

Audience members exclusively revealed to PinkNews that they had been “encouraged to heckle” during the live debate.

As she was heckled by audience members, Bergorf said: “We agreed to be part of a panel discussion, not be subjected to transphobic abuse.”

Palmer stood as a candidate for the Green Party during two General Elections, one in 2015 and another in 2017.

Related: Football Association condemns transphobic leaflets handed to fans at women’s FA Cup final

On Thursday, the Green Party confirmed that they had temporarily suspended Palmer following complaints made to the party by the LGBTIQA+ branch and non-party members.

(@LGBTIQAGreens / Twitter)

“The transphobic member who heckled during the Genderquake debate has now been suspended from The Green Party,” the LGBTIQA+ branch stated.

In a full statement, the Green Party said: “Following complaints made by the LGBTIQA+ Greens and others, Olivia Palmer, a member of the party who engaged in transphobic abuse during the Channel 4 Genderquake debate, has now been suspended.

“We would like to reiterate for everyone that there is no place in the Green Party for transphobia, and we are glad that the Party has been able to demonstrate its commitment to our policy – ‘The Green Party recognises that trans men are men, trans women are women, and that non-binary identities exist and are valid.’- through its actions.

“We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to report this issue, and encourage people to continue calling out instances of transphobia when they see them.”

Palmer addresses Munroe Bergdorf (Channel 4)

On Twitter, Palmer confirmed that she had been suspended and stated that the LGBTIQA+ Green Party had “autonomy” regarding her suspension.

“The LGBTIQA+ GP have ‘autonomy’ to talk on their own behalf,” she wrote.

However, a spokesperson for the Green Party confirmed to PinkNews on Friday that she has been suspended pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing, and that the LGBTIQA+ branch was not an autonomous part of the party.

The party policy of the Green Party is very pro-trans, including support for non-binary people.

(Jack Taylor/Getty)

Caroline Lucas, the party’s co-leader and lone MP, is a passionate supporter of LGBT rights.

During the 2017 General Election, the Green Party pledged to allow transgender young people to legally change their gender, while also streamlining the process for gender recognition for all trans people.

The proposal would have allowed for young people who are trans or non-binary to be able to change their gender in law, without requiring the express support of their parent or guardian.

(Creative Commons)

Since the broadcast of Genderquake: The Debate, which several prominent trans activists confirmed they were approached by Channel 4 but declined to take part in, Channel 4 has denied encouraging the heckling.

In a statement to PinkNews, a Channel 4 spokesperson stated: “As the show was live, the small number of audience members who made some comments that members of the panel found offensive were reprimanded on air by our presenter and reminded that such behaviour was disrespectful and offensive.”