Jacob Rees-Mogg says ‘you can’t offend the dead’ in GB News LGBTQ+ hate-crime discussion

Jacob Rees Mogg

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed that “you can’t offend the dead”, during a GB News broadcast about anti-LGBTQ+ hate-crime, and the death of trans teen Brianna Ghey.

On Monday (16 October), during a segment called “Pronoun prison”, Mogg discussed Labour proposals for tougher hate-crime sentences, alongside broadcaster and guest Amy Nickell-Turner. 

Addressing the National Women’s Conference, in Liverpool earlier this month, Labour chairwoman Anneliese Dodds said people convicted of anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes would receive the “tougher sentences they deserve” if her party wins the next general election.

Dodds’ promise came in a bid to show that “everyone deserves to be accepted without exception and treated with respect and dignity”.

Her comments follow Home Office statistics for 2022-2023 showing that transphobic hate crimes in England and Wales rose by 11 per cent compared with the previous year

Discussing this, Nickell-Turner referred to the death of Brianna Ghey, the transgender girl found stabbed in a Warrington park in February, who was remembered as a “beloved daughter, sister and granddaughter”, by her family.

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“That should’ve been the end of it,” Nickell-Turner said. 

But the family then faced abuse, including people deadnaming Brianna, which Nickell-Turner said should be a hate crime and be punished accordingly. 

Rees-Mogg responded: “As a general rule in law, you can’t libel the dead. That’s surely sensible that once someone is dead the libel laws fail to take effect.

“You can’t offend someone who is dead, you can offend the family.”

Deadnaming is when someone uses the name a trans person was given at birth, instead of that they have chosen or taken for themselves when transitioning. It can, accidentally or deliberately, offend and cause hurt to the person in question.

Prior to his comment, Nickell-Turner told the former business secretary and minister for Brexit opportunities: “Discrimination against trans people is wrong,” referring to a comment he had previously made. 

Rees-Mogg has previously hit out at LGBTQ+ campaigners for “shutting down debate” on transgender issues, despite news outlets continuing to offer a platform to anti-trans voices.

In her speech, Dodds also vowed to deliver where the “Conservatives have failed, by bringing in a full, no-loopholes, trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy”. 

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