Brighton MP rails against trans bigotry in heated Commons debate

Posted On 18 Jan 2023 at 3:25 pm

The Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle accused a Conservative of transphobic bigotry during a heated debate about the government’s decision to block the Scottish Parliament’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

The Brighton Kemptown MP was told to “calm down, moderate his language and move on to the substance of the debate”.

The exchanges followed the government’s decision to block the Scottish Parliament bill using section 35 of the Scotland Act 1998.

Mr Russell-Moyle spoke out after Tory MP Miriam Cates said that Holyrood’s proposed changes to the gender recognition process would make it easier for “predators” to have access to children.

He said: “Goodness me, that speech was probably one of the worst transphobic dog-whistle speeches I have heard in an awfully long time. Linking the bill with predators is, frankly, disgusting, and you should be ashamed.”

Deputy speaker Dame Rosie Winterton told Mr Russell-Moyle: “Calm down!”

Mr Russell-Moyle continued: “On the substance of this, ignoring that horrible speech we have just heard …”

The father of the house, Sir Peter Bottomley, the Conservative MP for Worthing West, intervened: “On a point of order … Did you hear anything transphobic in the previous speech?”

Dame Rosie said: “I have to say to the father of the house that different members of this house will interpret speeches in different ways.

“I suggest that we move on quickly and I think the honourable member for Brighton Kemptown needs to calm down, moderate his language and move on to the substance of the debate, otherwise I will ask him to resume his seat.”

Mr Russell-Moyle said: “It is difficult when we are talking about these emotional matters.

“The reality of this is that this section 35 is the new Tories’ section 28.”

Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 prohibited councils and state schools from doing anything to “promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality”.

He said: “It is their continuation of a war against a group of people – their culture war – that they want to pursue and they think it will advantage them in the polls.

“That is what the Australian Conservatives thought as well and what the Republicans in the US thought but I trust it will not because the people do not like the bigotry that we hear from the other side.”

Lloyd Russell-Moyle

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns said: “I recognise that the honourable gentleman feels very strongly about this but I would ask him to use caution about labelling a party as solely one thing because it is Conservative party colleagues who led for the conversion therapy ban that has been announced today.

“When I was elected, no other MP talked about it for seven months and we have delivered it today.

“I caution him to please not label all members on certain sides of the house as transphobic or homophobic – and I also challenge anyone being labelled that in this house.”

Mr Russell-Moyle said: “I will say that there are some very honourable members on all sides of the house, including the Conservative side, who resisted moves from the government and who, when trans conversion therapy was removed from that ban, pushed for it to get back in. And their work is to be applauded.”

He criticised the attempt to block the Scottish government’s bill, adding: “The government should just be honest and say that they want to remove the devolved competences in this area from the Scottish Parliament and return them back to Westminster.

“At least that would be an honest debate, rather than this dog-whistle debate about the safety of children, which, frankly, is not correct.

“Of course there will be concerns and of course this bill will not be perfect – no bill is perfect – but one of the key principles of my job, and I think of the job of all of us, is not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

The front page of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill

“Let us see how this bill rolls out in Scotland. We could then see the flaws that might come from it and the Scottish Parliament could have amended it and taken action, because all bills are living, practical documents.

“I say this as a gay man who loves all-male spaces sometimes and finds that the liberation of having such spaces is important – and I am sure that many women feel that the safety of all-women spaces is important to them.

“But this bill does not change that law one bit. GRCs exist at the moment and we already have a system for people to change their passport and their driving licence without a GRC.

“Going into a toilet, a public facility or a refuge is not contingent on a certificate at all, so all those arguments are bogus – and to continue a bogus argument knowing that it is bogus is, I am afraid, a form of bigotry.”

He was followed by Craig Mackinlay, another Conservative MP, who said: “I am rather concerned that the honourable member for Brighton Kemptown might have a seizure at the end of my speech but we will do our best to keep him calm.”

Earlier, Tim Loughton, the Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said: “I believe the liberties and responsibilities of all citizens across the four nations of the UK are equal which is why, among other things, I keenly supported the extension of same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland.

Tim Loughton

“I share the concerns about the rights of biological women to single-sex spaces but I am most concerned about the capacity of children – minors – to determine their own gender and embark on potentially life-changing physical transformations.

“This dispute has been confected by the SNP in pursuit of its separatist agenda.”

He added that it was shameful that the SNP had “weaponised vulnerable children in pursuit of that agenda and would impose that agenda on the majority of children across the whole UK”.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, said: “The real truth of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004 discussion is that almost five years ago this government opened up a consultation on GRA reform and did sweet nothing on it.

“They opened up that Pandora’s box of fear, hate and misinformation and then when one part of our country takes action – we all should have taken action – they want to use it for a constructed constitutional crisis.

“Is it not time that this government brought forward proper GRA reform on the basis laid out in the Scotland legislation and put to bed, once and for all, the lie that this is about equalities?”

He was followed by the former Conservative Home Office minister Rachel Maclean and interjected.

The deputy speaker of the House of Commons, Nigel Evans, said: “Order! Let’s not have that! Mr Russell-Moyle, you may not agree with what people are saying but please respect their ability to say what they want to say. That is what we should be doing in this house.”

Mr Russell-Moyle also said during another intervention: “Is it not right that, in the passing of the Equality Act 2010, it was noted then that the GRA needed to be reformed and de-pathologised?

“The party that came in straight after the passing of that act – the party currently in government – has spent 12 and a bit years twiddling its thumbs and fanning the flames of fear and hatred and then, when one Parliament of this United Kingdom takes decisive action, rather than stepping up and working to resolve the issue, the party has constructed a constitutional crisis that will benefit its voting.”

Today (Wednesday 18 January), Mr Russell-Moyle apologised, tweeting: “I wanted to notify the house at the earliest opportunity that I have written to the honourable member for Penistone and Stocksbridge to acknowledge that the tone of my remarks in the chamber yesterday was a mistake.

“I stand by the words I said and I profoundly disagree with the comments made by the honourable member.

“Our job as MPs is to channel passion and anger into considered debate to win arguments – in this case for the trans community and to defend devolution.

“I recognise that I failed to control that passion during what was an emotional debate and I should have expressed my deep disagreement, with what I believe is an abhorrent view, in a more appropriate way.

“I want to apologise to Madam Deputy Speaker who presided over the debate.”

Mr Russell-Moyle previously apologised to the Harry Potter author JK Rowling after saying that she was “using her own sexual assault as justification” to raise concerns over rights for transgender people.

  1. Daniel Crothers Reply

    No mention of the fact that Moyle has since made a pathetic non-apology for his appalling misogynistic abuse of a female MP, something which he has a track record of.

  2. Anni.M Reply

    Moyle hates women. An example of male Aggression towards a woman in a Westminster debate about the dangers of male Aggression if making self ID was legalized. His ‘excuse/apology’ ? She made me do it. In Plain Sight.

  3. bradly23 Reply

    i love my local MP, my lloyd, my panto king/queen but …

  4. Mia Sharp Reply

    He has no idea what it is like to be a woman and dismisses us and our concerns. Like many men and women, he cares more about the feelings of men than women.

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