A Conservative MP facing possible suspension for hosting an event to discuss the impact of transgender rights on women has had charges dropped after a complaint was made by a transgender councillor.
David Davies, 47, MP for Monmouth in south Wales, was investigated for a breach of House of Commons rules after stepping in to provide a committee room for women unable to find space in which to meet as a result of threats made to venues by trans activists.
The event, Transgenderism and the War on Women, was standing room only as 150 women gathered to listen to campaigners discussing proposed changes to legislation that will allow men who ‘self-identify’ as women access to all sex segregated spaces including public loos, changing rooms and even domestic violence refuges.
It was originally booked to be held in conference facilities at Millwall Football Club, but the venue cancelled after a barrage of complaints from trans activists including, it is believed, death threats.
Mr Davies agreed to host the event in March, commenting at the end of the meeting that he had never in his career experienced the intensity of the campaign to demand he withdraw his invitation.
The House of Commons was bombarded with complaints from trans activists and several prominent pro-LGBT MPs were contacted requesting their intervention, prompting former EastEnders actor Lord (Michael) Cashman to comment on Twitter that he would ‘track down’ the meeting.
Although the event went ahead without disturbance, a complaint was then made to the Parliamentary Committee on Standards by Zoe O’Connell, 40, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Cambridge, who identifies as transgender and is in a relationship with Sarah Brown, 44, and Sylvia Knight, 42. She is bidding to become Britain’s first polyamorous MP. Ms O’Connell and Ms Brown were born male and Ms Brown was formerly married to Ms Knight, but the two are now in a civil partnership.
The grounds of the complaint centred around the allegation that Mr Davies had ‘misused public resources’ in the belief tickets to the event had been sold against House of Commons rules that insist facilities are not used for financial benefit.
However, the Committee has now ruled the complaint is ‘not upheld’ after receiving evidence money raised from tickets to pay for facilities at Millwall Football Club had been returned.
Speakers at the event included feminist author and historian Sheila Jeffreys, academic Dr Julia Long and former Labour women’s officer Anne Ruzylo who was forced to resign last year after accusations of ‘transphobia’ were made against her by Labour’s first transgender woman’s officer, Lily Madigan.
The event was held to discuss proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act that will allow people to ‘self-identify’ as the opposite sex and therefore gain access to segregated facilities designed for the opposite sex. The Government has recently announced it will shortly begin consultation about the proposed amendments to the act which are supported by all main political parties.
Mr Davies said:
‘This has been hanging over me for months and has been a real worry. The investigation could have resulted in the end of my career
and I haven’t even been able to talk to the Press or my constituents to explain the situation, despite it being made public that I was being investigated.
‘I said then and I still say now, everything I did was right,’ Mr Davies continued.
‘It may be old fashioned, but if you have a penis and testicles, in my view you are a man. And if you disagree with that we should at least be able to debate it.
I should not be investigated, pilloried and hounded just for trying to discuss that view – and for giving women the space to talk about their very real concerns.
‘Gender self-identification will allow transgender women, most of whom have male genitalia, to access places where women would not expect males to be present such as hospital wards, changing rooms, refuges and female prisons. But we now have a situation where anyone who is concerned is not even allowed to talk about it and this investigation has only made it harder for MPs to talk about the issue for fear they, too, may risk losing their careers.’
Mr Davies said he was contacted by a senior Tory MP who suggested he may face a criminal investigation for offences against the public order act over a previous meeting he held with women to discuss the Gender Recognition Act. The MP, whose middle initials are ‘TC’, also suffered online abuse over his views when, earlier in the year, the LGBT wing of the Conservative party tweeted: ‘It’s clear that the T in his name stands for transphobic. It’s equally clear what the C stands for,’ although it is understood an apology was subsequently made.
The organiser of the event, mother of two Venice Allan, 42, commented: ‘It is absolutely appalling that Mr Davies was investigated. As a result of complaints being made from the minute it leaked out that Mr Davies was giving us a place of safety in which to meet after being hounded out of every other venue and one of our attendees had previously been attacked by a transgender activist, we had to meet with the Serjeant at Arms to ensure we were complying with all regulations. So we did everything by the book.
‘Yet Mr Davies still had to go through the public humiliation of being investigated like this for being brave enough to allow women to talk about a hugely controversial issue that affects our rights to safety and privacy. It’s ironic for me as a lifelong Labour supporter and former Corbynite that the only MP willing to help belongs to the Tories.
‘As many of us said at the event, he has more balls than Millwall.’