Shadow justice secretary says corporation is deliberately asking about issues not of interest on the doorstep
A Labour frontbencher has criticised the BBC for focusing on “identity issues” and effectively stoking a row over trans rights in the party.
In an interview on Wednesday morning shadow justice secretary David Lammy said Today programme presenter Nick Robinson was “deliberately asking me about an issue that you know does not come up on the doorstep.”
Mr Robinson had asked a number of questions about trans rights in the set-piece interview, which came hours ahead of Keir Starmer’s keynote conference speech.
The presenter had claimed Labour’s stance would be an issue with voters in the so-called “red wall” of seats won by the Tories.
But Mr Lammy said: “Vocês, the BBC, are choosing to land on this subject – that most British people aren’t talking about in a fuel crisis – and spend minutes on this because it keeps Labour talking about identity issues and not about the substantive policies that Keir will set out.”
He suggested it would be more appropriate to talk about the fuel and supply chain crisis engulfing the country.
Sir Keir was asked about the issue during another BBC issue on Sunday ahead of the party’s conference, and responded by admonishing a Labour MP for saying that only women have a cervix.
The Labour leader said it was “not right” to make the claim and called for a “mature, respectful debate” around the issue. He added that the trans community was “amongst the most marginalised and abused communities”.
Some transgender men – people who have transitioned from woman to man – have cervixes and the medical profession advises that they undergo screening for cervical cancer.
Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who had made the claim about cervixes, had told the Sunday Times last week that she would not attend the party’s conference in Brighton on security advice.
But on Tuesday evening she was was pictured at a fringe event on the outskirts of the conference, where she criticised Sir Keir’s stance and said she would not quit the party.
She said she wanted “a pledge that the single-sex exemptions will be kept in the 2010 Equality Act” and added: “We are absolutely okay with the path to self ID being made easier and trans rights being made easier, but we have to have single sex spaces protected and that is all we want really.”
Mr Lammy last night said there were “some dinosaurs on the right” and “in our own party” on the issue of trans rights.