Labour MPs including former shadow equalities minister back ‘gender-critical’ group

Marsha de Cordova and Rosie Duffield's headshots, both wearing red jackets standing in front of grey backgrounds

Labour MPs and peers, including former shadow equalities minister Marsha de Cordova, have shared their support for a so-called “gender-critical” group.

The group of politicians, which also included Rosie Duffield, gave their backing to the Labour Women’s Declaration (LWD), which pitches “women’s sex based rights” as being in opposition to trans rights reforms.

LWD is allied with notorious anti-trans groups Fair Play For Women and Transgender Trend, which claims that the “trans narrative” is attempting to convince gender non-conforming kids that they are “born in the wrong body”.

The Labour Women’s Declaration had requested a stand at Labour’s upcoming party conference in September.

It was reportedly rejected by the party, according to a report in The Daily Mail on 3 July, along with anti-trans groups including the LGB Alliance.

A statement from LWD said: “This refusal comes in spite of an apparent willingness to engage constructively in debate on issues of sex and gender, including calls from Keir Starmer for ‘more light and less heat’ and from Wes Streeting for constructive dialogue on the topic.

“This refusal is part of the party’s historic suppression of dissenting views on gender identity and the outdated and indeed discriminatory assumption that those of us who are advocating for more discussion and the protection of women’s rights should not have a platform/voice within the party.”

The Labour Business Board reportedly refused the LWD’s joint application again on 27 July, saying: “The Business Board has considered and rejected your application. This assessment has been made on commercial grounds and there is no right to appeal.”

A group of Labour MPs, some of whom were involved in the application for the LWD stand, wrote letter published in The Observer on Sunday (31 July) saying the rejection was a “huge source of disappointment to us”.

“The Labour party has a proud tradition of anti-racist and anti-sexist campaigning, and Labour governments passed much of the UK’s flagship anti-discrimination legislation,” the letter continued.

“That work is the reason many of us join Labour in the first place.

The letter argued that since ministers had “appreciated and benefited from the presence of other campaign groups”, the LWD stand would “be an opportunity for us all to learn more“.

It was signed by Labour MPs Tonia Antoniazzi, Feryal Clark, Marsha de Cordova, Rosie Duffield, Julie Elliott, Mary Glindon, Diana Johnson and Steve McCabe, with Labour peers Dianne Hayter, Philip Hunt, Estelle Morris, David Triesman and Tony Young.

The LWD formed from a petition in 2019 which made several declarations, including that “women have the right to maintain their sex-based protections” and that women “have the right to participate in single-sex sports, to ensure fairness and safety at all levels of competition”.

It condemned “all attempts to undermine” these claims, with no specification as to what they consider an attempt to limit women’s rights.