Father Ted writer Graham Linehan claims he was blocked from attending the Conservative Party conference next month by police over his stance on trans issues
- Irish writer has been allowed access after an intervention from party chairman
- Mr Linehan was previously banned from X after saying ‘men aren’t women’
The Irish sitcom writer complained to the Tory party after he was denied access to the conference in Manchester next month, which resulted in an embarrassing U-turn as chairman Greg Hands stepped in to ensure he could attend.
Mr Linehan, 55, has not been told the grounds for the refusal but in 2018 he received a warning from West Yorkshire Police following an argument with a transgender activist on X, formerly known as Twitter.
He said: ‘I heard I was turned down on the orders of Greater Manchester Police. I’ve put in a Freedom of Information subject access request to find out what they have on me and why I was refused.’
The writer – who was temporarily banned by X in 2020 for saying ‘men aren’t women’ – said he has faced a campaign against him from trans activists including one with a criminal record and a doctor who was suspended from practising for sending offensive online messages.
Mr Linehan said: ‘If it is the reason I think it is, it is a scandal. These people who have been causing trouble for me are manipulating the police. They are manipulating the UK’s very woolly hate crime laws.’
He said he ‘does not blame the Conservative Party’ for the refusal, saying: ‘It’s a failing of bureaucracy.’
Mr Linehan said he is attending the Tory conference for the first time having been converted from being a ‘dyed in the wool Leftie’ – although he has not yet officially become a member.
He said: ‘I haven’t yet gone that far. But they are the only party standing up for women’s rights.
‘At the moment, I’m a single-issue voter. I’ll vote for anyone who knows what a woman is.’
Mr Linehan, who ended up performing outside the Scottish Parliament after two Edinburgh Fringe venues cancelled his appearance in August, said: ‘The rejection makes me one of the few people turned away from both the Conservative Party conference and the Edinburgh Fringe.’
During his open-air performance in the Scottish capital, he told the audience he had been forced to try comedy having failed to obtain any scriptwriting work for five years due to his views about trans issues.
Mr Hands apologised to Linehan after his bid to attend the conference was blocked, the Mail understands.
Applications to accredit for the Tory conference undergo police checks. CCHQ then receives an anonymised list flagging any concerns.
Linehan was on the list and his application was blocked. But Mr Hands looked into his case and received assurances that there was nothing to concern the party about his behaviour.
He then emailed Linehan to apologise for the inconvenience and said he had personally authorised his accreditation.
Greater Manchester Police did not comment when asked about Mr Linehan’s application other than to say decisions on granting accreditation are being made by the Conservatives.