Debate on trans issues has become ‘so divisive and toxic’, says Rachel Reeves

·1-min read
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

People should be able to identify as a man or woman “whatever their body parts are”, a shadow cabinet minister said, as Labour remained entangled in a row over trans rights.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves was clearly uncomfortable as she was questioned on an issue which has sparked such bitter feuding that Labour MP Rosie Duffield felt unable to attend the party’s conference in Brighton after receiving threats and abuse.

Ms Reeves said: “I just think that this issue has just become so divisive and toxic, and it pits people against each other – both groups who have faced discrimination in society, women and trans women.

“I just find this debate incredibly unhelpful and unproductive, to be totally honest.”

On Sunday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was “not right” for Ms Duffield to have said “only women have a cervix” – a comment which led to claims she was transphobic.

Asked on LBC whether the comment was transphobic, Ms Reeves said: “Is it transphobic? I don’t even know how to start answering these questions.”

Challenged again by presenter Nick Ferrari “is it transphobic to say only women have a cervix”, she said: “I wouldn’t say that.”

She added: “If somebody identifies as a woman or a man, they should be able to do so whatever their body parts are.”

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