Archbishop defends MP threatened over trans views

The Archbishop of Canterbury has defended a trans-critical MP after she withdrew from the Labour Party conference over security fears.

Rosie Duffield has pulled out of next week's conference in Brighton after receiving threats from trans activists. 

The 50-year-old MP for Canterbury has angered the trans community by saying that "only women have a cervix".

Commenting on her decision to pull out of the Brighton conference, Duffield told The Sunday Times: "We have had Labour MPs who have had to have security at conference over the past few years, and I didn't want that sort of attention or to become the story. I just thought it was better for everyone if I quietly stayed away."

She added: "LGBT+ Labour now seem to hate my guts and I feared they'd have a massive go at me at conference.

"The people who threaten me I don't think are actually likely to harm me. They just say it often and very loudly."

Her decision prompted an intervention from Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, who said government should take action to protect parliamentarians from threats of intimidation.

"Parliamentarians, who have been elected to speak up for their constituents, should be able to attend their own party conference without fear of harm," he said. 

"It is why we chose to discuss the security of MPs, their staff, journalists and other public figures at our G7 Speakers' conference this weekend, because too many people have been targeted for their opinion or the office they hold."

Archbishop Justin Welby has echoed these concerns on social media.  

"Absolutely everybody has the right to be safe from abuse, threat or harm. That includes Rosie Duffield AND the transgender community," he said in a tweet posted alongside the hashtag #disagreewell.

"It's about time we looked for our shared humanity in our dealings with others, rather than the division."