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Labour’s women problem gets worse

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: J.K. Rowling arrives at the "Fantastic Beasts: The Secret of Dumbledore" world premiere at The Royal Festival Hall on March 29, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

As the Conservatives face another round of allegations of Tory sleaze, Labour is doing what it does best: having an internal row about trans rights. After Labour MP Rosie Duffield found herself heckled by her own side for speaking out on her concerns over the SNP”s Scottish gender recognition bill, she penned an article likening being in the Labour Party to an abusive relationship and criticising Keir Starmer over his ‘silence’ following the incident.

Those claims do not appear to have landed well in the Leader’s Office. Rather than entering a period of reflection, the Mail on Sunday reports that a senior aide to Keir Starmer said ‘it would be nice’ if Duffield ‘spent a bit more time’ in her constituency of Canterbury rather than ‘hanging out with JK Rowling’. Rowling has bonded with Duffield in the past over their shared interest in women’s rights and protecting single-sex spaces.

Duffield has hit back at this anonymous adviser:

‘Never had the pleasure of meeting this unelected ‘HeadOfComms’ person.But for the record, while he was overheard loudly opining on my whereabouts and choice of friends, I was in my constituency meeting with members of Canterbury’s Hazara community. Really hope he’s ok with that.’

Or as Rowling put it in response: ‘fight that FOMO, bro’.

One nil to the sisterhood…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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