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.
'Is it transphobic to say only women have a cervix?'
Nick Ferrari puts Labour's Rachel Reeves on the spot after Keir Starmer said it was wrong to say 'only women have a cervix'.@NickFerrariLBC pic.twitter.com/g06jPP8TxH
— LBC (@LBC) September 27, 2021
“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.
I'm a 'transphobe' for knowing that only women have a cervix....?!
— Rosie Duffield MP 💙 (@RosieDuffield1) August 1, 2020
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.”