Jennie Formby, the General Secretary of the Labour Party, has written the following reply to the Labour Women for Women’s Rights open letter which was addressed to her and Jeremy Corbyn.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me to express your concerns about the NEC statement about All Women Shortlists, women’s officers and minimum quotas for women.
The purpose of the statement was to set out and explain Labour’s current policy on All Women Shortlists, women’s officers and minimum quotas for women, in order to address any confusion or concerns. It did not change our policy in any way.
The Labour Party’s All Women Shortlists are open to all women, including self-identifying trans women, as are the positions of women’s officer and minimum quotas for women. The Labour Party is committed to upholding the principle of affirmative action for women. Anyone attempting to breach Labour Party rules and subvert the intention of All Women Shortlists, women’s officers or minimum quotas for women will be dealt with via our established safeguards, selection procedures and disciplinary measures.
This restatement of our policy is not about the Gender Recognition Act or women-only spaces. As outlined in Labour’s manifesto, we are committed to updating the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010 in line with the principles of self-declaration to ensure it provides proper protection for trans people from discrimination. The Party will be developing more detailed policy on how this will be achieved and how important safeguards and protections for all women, including vulnerable women, will be maintained. There will be a full consultation with relevant stakeholders on the detail of this so I hope that this goes some way to reassure you. The National Policy Forum also offers scope for further discussion about the Gender Recognition Act. See www.policyforum.labour.org.uk.
We recognise that there is a diversity of views on this subject and there has been no attempt to silence different opinions on what is a complex and emotive issue for many members. All members are entitled to their views and must be able to express them and engage in discussion in a respectful manner. All forms of abuse or intimidation are unacceptable and will be addressed according to our rules and procedures.
As only the second woman to hold the position of Labour Party General Secretary, I am fully committed to the women’s equality and I hope that you will continue with your membership of the Labour Party.