Green Party suspends ex-councillor in Eddie Izzard trans rights row

Green Party suspends ex-councillor in trans rights row: Campaigner raised concerns about women’s rights by sharing article on Twitter about Eddie Izzard for using female loos

  • Alison Teal has been suspended by the Green Party in a trans rights row
  • Ex-councillor is being boycotted after sharing article about Eddie Izzard
  • The article criticised Izzard for using the women’s toilets at Labour event

A prominent Green Party politician, previously honoured by colleagues for her work to save trees, has been suspended by the party in a trans rights row.

Alison Teal is a former councillor who has been selected to stand in the Sheffield Central seat at the next general election.

But she is being boycotted by some councillors and party members in a woke backlash after expressing support on Twitter for an article criticising former comic Eddie Izzard, who self-identifies as a woman, for using the women’s toilets at a Labour Party fundraising event in the city.

Miss Teal commented on a recent article in The Critic magazine and quoted from a section of it, before stating the view that the issues raised should be discussed.

She tweeted a link to the article and wrote: ‘Powerful piece. ”The loss of women’s rights starts with looking the other way for an Eddie Izzard and ends with a society that doesn’t flinch at placing a male sex offender in jail with women.” Serious issues we must discuss.’

Miss Teal then faced a backlash from colleagues promising not to campaign for her.

Alison Teal is a former councillor who has been selected to stand in the Sheffield Central seat at the next general election

Alison Teal is a former councillor who has been selected to stand in the Sheffield Central seat at the next general election 

Miss Teal is being boycotted by some councillors and party members in a woke backlash after expressing support on Twitter for an article criticising former comic Eddie Izzard, who self-identifies as a woman, for using the women's toilets at a Labour Party fundraising event in the city

Miss Teal is being boycotted by some councillors and party members in a woke backlash after expressing support on Twitter for an article criticising former comic Eddie Izzard, who self-identifies as a woman, for using the women’s toilets at a Labour Party fundraising event in the city

Although not specifically naming her, five Green Party councillors Ruth Mersereau, Angela Argenzio, Alexi Dimond, Brian Holmshaw and Martin Phipps were among members who shared a graphic on Twitter.

It read: ‘I am a Sheffield Green Party member and I support trans rights. I will not campaign for any candidate who discriminates against trans people.’

The free speech row promises to heat up the next general election contest as Izzard is hoping to be selected to stand as the Labour candidate in the safe Sheffield Central seat. There is a vacancy after MP Paul Blomfield announced he would not stand again.

Commenting on her suspension, Miss Teal said in a statement: ‘It’s deeply regrettable that some of my former colleagues brought our political disagreement into the public eye and one has brought a complaint against me that’s led to my no-fault suspension by the Party.

‘Using the disciplinary process to manage differences of opinion rather than engage in discussion is troubling and disappointing. Efforts are being made at the local level to address the need for dialogue and I continue to be optimistic that we can resolve our differences.’

Earlier this year Miss Teal, 56, a psychologist by profession, stood down as a Green Party councillor and slammed the Green Party Tweeting: ‘We’ve seen the party move from being tolerant/thoughtful to authoritarian/dogmatic underpinned by racism.’

Yet five years ago she was given a standing ovation at the party conference and won an award for Impressive Councillor Achievement after a prominent role, that even saw her arrested, campaigning against council contractors felling hundreds of healthy trees in Sheffield. 

Miss Teal commented on a recent article in The Critic magazine and quoted from a section of it, before stating the view that the issues raised should be discussed

Miss Teal commented on a recent article in The Critic magazine and quoted from a section of it, before stating the view that the issues raised should be discussed

The Critic article that appears to have indirectly prompted her suspension criticised Izzard for using the women’s toilets before addressing an audience of 300 people at a fundraising event in September.

Article author Jean Hatchet was in the audience and wrote: ‘Women are right to stand firmly against the steady creep upon our right to single-sex space.’

She also criticised sending a convicted paedophile, who is living as a woman but born a man, to a women’s prison.

The article praised Miss Teal, Izzard’s potential parliamentary rival, commenting: ‘She is a woman known for expressing gender critical views but also for fighting to save Sheffield’s trees. Eddie may not breeze into the parliamentary seat as confidently as he breezed into the Ladies.’

A Green Party spokesman said: ‘The Green Party does not comment on individual disciplinary cases.’

But the row appears to have caused deep divisions in the party.

Shahrar Ali, former Green Party deputy leader, commented: ‘Our party will find itself in an increasingly precarious position if we dare not stand up for brilliant candidates up and down the country whose only ”crime” is belief in female sex and defence of women’s sex-based rights. Alison Teal has been a hugely inspiring figure.’

Darren Johnson Tweeted: ‘I’m a life member, stood for the party on 18 occasions and represented it in public office for 16 years but if I had to go around pretending to believe mammals can change sex and other fantastical claims in order to be a candidate I’d never have got involved in the first place.’

The party’s policy on trans rights states: ‘The Green Party recognises that trans men are men, trans women are women, and that non-binary identities exist and are valid. We shall respect transgender and non-binary people’s identities as real.’

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