Anti-trans MPs Rosie Duffield and Miriam Cates have formed a concerning alliance

Rosie Duffield and Miriam Cates

In an alliance that is already causing concern for the LGBTQ+ community, Labour MP Rosie Duffield and evangelical Christian Tory MP Miriam Cates have joined up to fight against trans rights. 

The pair, who both have a history of promoting their anti-LGBTQ+ views, are rallying together against trans rights in a bid to ensure “women’s rights are protected at all costs”.

In an interview the Daily Express, the pair said they want to prevent women’s rights being “wiped out by stealth” by a “small group of extremist activists” [trans people] who want to “shut up” women.

“This is not about being anti-trans, it’s about making sure one person’s interests do not override another’s,” they said. “It doesn’t matter what your politics are, we appeal for the country to come together to protect women’s rights.”

Duffield, the MP for Canterbury, added that access to “single-sex-only spaces is crucial,” despite previous explanations from legal experts on why barring trans people from single-sex spaces would be unlawful.

The pair have spoken out ahead of local elections on May 4, and have urged voters to ask their councillors about their position on the issue, further adding fuel to the fire of anti-trans sentiment in Britain.

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Duffield added: “We have the right to hold everybody to account and for our views to be respected and not just dismissed as transphobia.”

The Duffield and Cates collaboration has stirred up concerned responses on social media, with trans newsreader India Willoughby writing on Twitter: “Posh terfs like JK Rowling and Rosie Duffield say they’re not anti-trans in the same way ‘pro-life’ campaigners claim they’re not anti-abortion.

“No different. They oppose bodily autonomy – and hang out with religious crackpots. Same.”

Duffield has a long history of anti-trans remarks, and in October last year she aired her regressive views and attacked trans comedian and Labour candidate Suzy Eddie Izzard while speaking at a conference of the trans-exclusionary LGB Alliance

At the event, she remarked: “I’m not calling Eddie Izzard a woman.” 

Duffield’s anti-trans comments saw her party peers calling for the Labour whip to be removed, but no action was taken. 

The MP has repeatedly been criticised for calling trans women “male bodied” and stating that she doesn’t believe trans women should have access to domestic violence shelters, women’s prisons and single-sex toilets. 

Criticism of Duffield, who was elected to represent Canterbury in 2017, ramped up on 24 January when a senior aide to party leader Keir Stamer reportedly slammed her alleged friendship with JK Rowling, who has also been accused of using anti-trans rhetoric

It is thought that Duffield’s first public mention of the trans community dates back to a tweet in which she criticised the idea that inclusive language should be used for cervical screening tests back in 2020. 

Rosie Duffield against a pink background with one of her infamous anti-trans tweets
Rosie Duffield has continuously claimed that she supports LGBTQ+ rights. (Getty/Twitter/PinkNews)

Despite Rosie Duffield’s stance, the politician has continuously claimed that she supports LGBTQ+ rights and that she has fought for queer rights throughout her career, but her alliance with Miriam Cates is viewed as calculated to stir further anti-trans rhetoric in the UK.

Similarly, Cates has faced backlash after linking trans people to predators in the House of Commons in January this year, a short while after the UK government blocked Scotland’s monumental Gender Recognition Reform bill

In December, Holyrood passed the landmark legislation with an 86-39 vote to make it easier for trans people to gain legal recognition of their gender identity, but on 16 January, the UK government announced its unprecedented decision to use a Section 35 order under the Scotland Act to prevent the Scottish bill from becoming law. 

Cates claimed the bill would make it “vastly easier for a predator to gain access to children” and alleged it would have a “chilling effect” on single-sex spaces. 

She went on to claim she had had several experiences with trans people in toilets, stating “women are far less powerful than men … we can’t defend ourselves” – a narrative that has contributed to numerous anti-trans bathroom and sports bans but is not based in actual science

Evangelical Christian Conservative MP Miriam Cates. (Official parliament portrait)

In November 2021, Cates accused LGBTQ+ charities Stonewall and Mermaids of teaching children “dangerous and contested extreme ideologies” in schools.

That same month saw the MP call for an investigation into trans inclusion in British schools which saw her comments being compared to the reviled Section 28 – which banned the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ in schools and by local authorities from 1988.

The shameful legislation was repealed in 2003, with David Cameron apologising for the harm it had done in 2009 – but despite this, its implications are still felt far and wide and teaching around LGBT+ issues still remains a taboo topic in many schools.

PinkNews has reached out to Rosie Duffield and Miriam Cates for comment.