Keir Starmer calls for compassion in grilling over Eddie Izzard and Labour’s all-women shortlists

Eddie Izzard

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has doubled down on his support for trans rights after being grilled over trans comedian Eddie Izzard standing as an MP in the next general election.

A caller to LBC asked Starmer during his appearance on Nick Ferrari’s Monday (24 October) show if he supports all-women shortlists during elections, and if Izzard – who uses she/her pronouns – would be placed on one when she runs for office.

While Starmer repeatedly said he would not comment on “individuals” and did not reference Izzard, he seemed to support the trans community during the segment, claiming that some trans people go through a “huge amount of stress” in order to receive the healthcare they need.

The Labour leader added that while he claims “99.9 per cent” of women are cisgender, he would not “put to one side” the fact that some people “struggle” with their gender identity.

“We should be compassionate and we should recognise that we already have a law in place for gender recognition, that needs to be modernised,” he told Ferrari.

Starmer added that all-women shortlists during the next general election could be scrapped, as he claims Labour has reached its target of 50 per cent female candidates.

“Once you’ve got 50 per cent equality then there’s an argument about all-women shortlists anyway… there’s a legal opinion that says we can’t use them anymore,” he said.

Starmer’s LBC appearance comes as Labour MP Rosie Duffield has criticised the idea that Izzard, who is running for the Sheffield Central seat in the next general election, could be placed on an all-women shortlist.

Speaking during a Labour Women’s Declaration (LWD) discussion group at the Labour Conference in September, the MP for Canterbury allegedly said she would leave the party if Izzard was selected to stand on an all-women shortlist.

“I won’t lie. I won’t say a man is a woman. Eddie Izzard is not a woman,” Duffield reportedly said.

Duffield also reportedly said she would rather be arrested than call Izzard a woman at the LGB Alliance conference on Saturday (22 October).

According to Kent Online, when asked about the possibility of a law making misgendering a trans person a hate crime, she said: “I hope not because you might as well arrest me now. I’m not calling Eddie Izzard a woman.”

Starmer added on the LBC segment that he “knows” Duffield’s position on the trans community, however he did not comment further on Izzard, or Duffield’s statements about Izzard.

Duffield has repeatedly said she is not transphobic and that she supports the LGBTQ+ community. Despite this, two members of her staff quit her office during the height of the pandemic citing her anti-trans views as the reason.

PinkNews has contacted Duffield for comment.