27 September 2021, 09:26 | Updated: 27 September 2021, 09:28
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has struggled to answer a question about whether it was transphobic to say that “only women have a cervix”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said MP Rosie Duffield, who is not attending the party conference in Brighton after receiving threats and being branded transphobic, was wrong to say “only women have a cervix”.
Asked about the row, Ms Reeves told LBC: “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.”
Pressed on whether it was transphobic, Ms Reeves said: “I don’t even know how to start answering these questions.”
Challenged again if it was transphobic to say only women have a cervix, Ms Reeves 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.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid accused Sir Keir of a “total denial of scientific facts”.
“And he wants to run the NHS,” the Tory MP tweeted.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said she was shocked by the level of abuse aimed at female politicians and it was a “concern” that Ms Duffield felt unable to attend the conference.