Anti-trans Tory Miriam Cates loses seat to Labour candidate who champions equality

Miriam Cates

Anti-trans Conservative Miriam Cates was one of the big-name Tories to lose their seats in Thursday’s (4 July) general election.

Marie Tidball overturned a 7,210 majority to win the South Yorkshire seat of Penistone and Stockbridge for Labour, picking up 19,169 votes, leaving Cates in second place with 10,430.

Tidball polled 43.6 per cent of the vote, compared with Cates’ 23.7 per cent.

Cates had lobbied to shelve a long-promised ban on trans-inclusive conversion therapy.

Tory MP Miriam Cates wears a red dress as she addresses the House of Commons after the UK government blocked Scotland's Gender Recognition Reform bill from passing into law
Miriam Cates lost her South Yorkshire despite previously having a majority of more than 7,000. (Parliament TV)

Tidball lives with a rare congenital disability which affects all four of her limbs and means she has foreshortened arms and legs and a digit on each hand.

According to her profile, she is “deeply passionate about community, fairness and equality,” and concerned with world-class public services, which she has benefited from herself, having had had NHS operations at Barnsley and Sheffield hospitals that enabled her to walk.

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Ahead of polling stations open, she wrote on X/Twitter that people should vote for her if they wanted change, adding: “It would be a huge privilege to represent our area. We are working hard for every single vote.” 

Cates has not issued a statement following her defeat, but has retweeted English philosopher Phillip Blond’s post, which read: “I’m most upset that Miriam Cates has lost her seat: a wonderful, visionary and principled MP who I think shows the way forward for the party.” 

Cates will be remembered for her anti-trans rhetoric

However, that’s unlikely to be the way many members of the LGBTQ+ community remember her.

During her time as an MP, devout Christian Cates often opposed protections for trans people and criticised ‘woke’ culture.

She has said that furthering trans rights “erodes the very concept of women”, and what she called “this ideological capture” can “harm children”. She supported the government’s blocking of Scotland’s gender recognition reform law. 

Cates even teamed up with Labour MP Rosie Duffield to oppose trans rights and ensure “women’s rights are protected at all costs”

She has also said she doesn’t want children to “change gender at school” and declared that she wanted a “ban on schools socially transitioning children”. The former Tory MP targeted LGBTQ+ charities and openly shared her beliefs about “traditional” families and the role of women in society. 

An independent investigation, published on Monday (1 July), revealed that Cates was a trustee of a church that “endorsed” conversion therapy.

She told the BBC: “I do not and have never advocated for what is referred to as gay conversion therapy. I have never participated in such activities and I was not aware – nor was there any way I could have been aware – of allegations, which were not, as far as I was aware, raised during the time I was on the leadership of the church, and only surfaced after I left.”

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