Labour frontbencher Lloyd Russell-Moyle accuses JK Rowling of exploiting her sexual assault ordeal to score political points in transgender row
- Lloyd Russell-Moyle made the comments speaking to Tribune magazine
- He accused the Harry Potter author of promoting hate towards trans people
- Rebecca Long Bailey sacked from Shadow Cabinet for forwarding tweet making false claims about Israel
Sir Keir Starmer was facing a fresh challenge to Labour discipline last night after one of his frontbenchers accused J.K. Rowling of exploiting her sex attack ordeal.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, a Shadow Environment Minister, claimed the author was ‘using her own sexual assault’ to justify her views on transgender issues.
The Left-winger’s comment outraged feminists in the party and they are now demanding that Sir Keir axe him in the same way that he sacked Shadow Education Minister Rebecca Long Bailey for forwarding a tweet that made false claims about Israel.
Mr Russell-Moyle, the MP for Kemptown and Peacehaven, is an outspoken advocate of trans rights and a leading member of the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs, who are in uproar over Mrs Long Bailey’s dramatic dismissal.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle (pictured), a Shadow Environment Minister, claimed JK Rowling was ‘using her own sexual assault’ to justify her views on transgender issues
Ms Rowling has found herself the subject of vicious trolling and accusations of being transphobic after responding to a headline on an online article discussing ‘people who menstruate’. In a tweet, she said: ‘I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’
Stung by criticism, the writer – whose Harry Potter books have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide – sought to justify her decision to speak out in a deeply personal essay.
Recalling how the trauma of ‘a serious sexual assault I suffered in my twenties’ had informed her thinking about the trans issue and women’s rights, Ms Rowling explained: ‘Like every other domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor I know, I feel nothing but empathy and solidarity with trans women who’ve been abused by men.’
But in an article published last week in the Left-wing Tribune magazine, Mr Russell-Moyle accused Ms Rowling of promoting ‘hate’ towards trans people and of exploiting the sexual assault she had endured.
‘Recently, of course, we saw people like J.K. Rowling using her own sexual assault as justification for discriminating against a group of people who were not responsible for it,’ he wrote. His words brought swift condemnation by women’s rights campaigners in the Labour Party.
Ms Rowling has found herself the subject of vicious trolling and accusations of being transphobic after responding to a headline on an online article discussing ‘people who menstruate’
‘This is victim-blaming and it’s disgraceful,’ said one. ‘It’s worse than anything [Long Bailey] did and he should be out. This man is accusing a woman who suffered a violent crime of exploiting her own sexual assault. It’s horrible and it’s sexist and Keir can’t let it stand.’
Kiri Tunks, of campaign group Woman’s Place UK, added: ‘As an MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle has an obligation to engage with the concerns and needs of women. By dismissing legitimate concerns as ‘hate’ and denigrating women who are brave enough to talk about the effects of male violence on their lives, he fails in this obligation.’
Despite previous lapses, Mr Russell-Moyle has retained his environment brief under Sir Keir. In April, The Mail on Sunday revealed a video in which the 33-year-old MP accused the Conservative Government of ‘conspiring to murder’ British citizens.
The Labour leader has been anxious to steer clear of trans issues, a contentious subject in his party. During the leadership contest, he was the only candidate who refused to sign a public pledge demanding that ‘transphobic’ feminists be expelled, and his spokesman condemned the abuse directed at Ms Rowling.
The Government is preparing to abandon Theresa May’s controversial plans to allow men to ‘self-identify’ as women. Strategists believe it could create clear blue water with Sir Keir if Labour chooses to endorse reforms to the Gender Recognition Act.
Labour did not respond to requests for comment last night.