JK Rowling calls on Labour to apologise to MP Rosie Duffield over transphobia row after party’s shadow justice secretary said she supported author’s view that ‘biological sex is real and is immutable’

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has called on the Labour Party to apologise to an MP investigated over allegations of transphobia – after one of its frontbenchers said she agreed with the writer’s views on biological sex.

Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield was investigated by the party in a transphobia row after she liked a tweet by Father Ted writer Graham Linehan as he responded to Suzy Eddie Izzard about the treatment of trans people in Nazi Germany.

Ms Duffield was cleared of the allegations in January, but she has previously spoken of feeling isolated from other Labour party members for her views regardless of being ‘exonerated’ in the probe.

But she may yet have an ally in shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood, who says she shares Rowling’s view that biological sex is ‘real and is immutable’. Mahmood’s comments have prompted Rowling to call for an apology to Duffield. 

Following her first speech as shadow justice secretary on Monday, Ms Mahmood hit out at ‘hashtag movements’ that she claimed were being used to ‘shut down debate’.

JK Rowling has called for Labour to apologise to Rosie Duffield after it investigated her over allegations of transphobia (the pair pictured together in 2022)

Shabana Mahmood said on Monday she agreed with JK Rowling's views on biological sex

Shabana Mahmood said on Monday she agreed with JK Rowling’s views on biological sex

Rowling's comments and Ms Duffield's subsequent reactions (above) - including the revelation she had not been contacted by Sir Keir Starmer since Ms Mahmood made her comments

Rowling’s comments and Ms Duffield’s subsequent reactions (above) – including the revelation she had not been contacted by Sir Keir Starmer since Ms Mahmood made her comments

In remarks reported by the Telegraph, she said women had to go to employment tribunals to defend their rights to their beliefs.

Ms Mahmood told a reporter: ‘To clarify their right to believe that, for example, because you referenced JK Rowling, clarify their right to say that biological sex is real and is immutable – a position that I also agree with.

‘But they shouldn’t be in the position of losing their jobs for having views that are perfectly legal, and that they are perfectly entitled to express.’

Following the reporting of those remarks, Rowling took to X, formerly Twitter, to call for Labour to issue an apology to the MP because of how she has allegedly been treated by her political stablemates.

Rowling wrote on her profile: ‘If senior opposition politicians agree with me that sex is real and immutable, I hope we’ll soon see an apology to @RosieDuffield1, who believes exactly what I believe.’

Responding to Ms Mahmood’s comments, Ms Duffield said the intervention was ‘great news’.

She added on X: ‘Perhaps there’ll be fewer investigations from now on into the only Labour MP cast aside for years for holding the same views?’

She also sent Rowling a separate tweet of a purple heart emoji – and suggested to another user of the site that she had not spoken to party leader Sir Keir Starmer since Ms Mahmood made her comments.

She said: ‘My colleague, the leader of the Labour Party has not spoken to me.’ 

In recent months, Ms Duffield says she suffered ‘low-level trauma’ at being shunned by those within the Labour party who do not share her gender-critical views.

Those with such views believe a person’s sex cannot be changed, regardless of the gender they choose to identify by.

They typically oppose allowing those who have changed their gender to use facilities such as bathrooms designated for the sex they identify with, arguing that allowing them to do so would put women at risk.

Rowling has campaigned on the issue for several years in the name of women’s safety, after disclosing she had suffered sexual assault and domestic abuse earlier in her life. She has strenuously denied allegations of transphobia. 

Ms Duffield is one of a number of Ms Rowling’s political and academic allies who met for a boozy lunch in London in 2022. Other such allies include the SNP MP Joanna Cherry, gender critical author Helen Joyce and philosopher Kathleen Stock.

Ms Duffield says she was shouted down by her own Labour colleagues in a parliamentary debate on Scotland’s Gender Reform Bill in January 2023, which would have streamlined the process of changing legal gender north of the border.

Rosie Duffield has claimed she is not being supported by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

Rosie Duffield has claimed she is not being supported by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer 

She says she was shouted down during discussions of Scotland's Gender Reform Bill in January last year (pictured)

She says she was shouted down during discussions of Scotland’s Gender Reform Bill in January last year (pictured) 

The bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament but blocked by the UK Government, which exercised its Section 35 powers of the devolution act to put a stop to the legislation. Subsequent legal challenges to this have failed.

Ms Duffield said during the debate veteran Labour MP Ben Bradshaw ‘yelled his disapproval at me’ and then his colleague Lloyd Russell-Moyle ‘started to heckle every woman who spoke of their similar concerns’. 

She told the Daily Express a year ago she felt ‘isolated, hounded and harassed’ from other members of Labour during years of ‘toxic’ abuse for her views. Ms Duffield has strenuously denied she holds transphobic views.

But last year Labour began an investigation after she liked a tweet from Graham Linehan the comedy writer had written to Suzy Eddie Izzard, the transgender comedian and political activist.

Ms Izzard had written in a tweet that if she had lived in Nazi Germany as a trans woman she would have been ‘murdered for it’.

Ms Duffield liked Linehan’s reply, which read: ‘Ah yes, the Nazis, famously bigoted against straight white men with blonde hair’.

Labour cleared her of transphobia in January; Ms Duffield said the probe had ‘exonerated’ her of any suggestion of transphobic behaviour.

The Labour Party has been contacted for comment. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk