Menu
Thu, 18 July 2024

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
By Ben Guerin
Press releases

Green Party Withdrew Statement on Cass Review After LGBTIQA+ Greens Threatened To Remove Support For Leaders

Green Party Co-Leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay, with Deputy Leader Zack Polanski

5 min read

The Green Party withdrew a statement about the Cass Review into NHS treatment of youngsters seeking help on gender and identity because it is so split over the issue.

The statement was issued in April but withdrawn after just an hour, PoliticsHome has been told. One faction, the LGBTIQA+ Greens, threatened to remove their support for the party’s leaders if the statement remained online, according to Zoe Hatch.

Hatch is one of four former Green Party Women chairs who are considering bringing group legal action against the Green Party, after they were suspended for expressing gender critical views.

“The party did actually put out a statement about Cass. And it got taken down within an hour because the LGBTIQA+ Greens complained about it and allegedly said that they would no longer give internal support to [Green co-leader] Carla Denyer and [Green deputy leader] Zack Polanski if that statement wasn't taken out,” she said.

The Green Party did not dispute that it removed the statement from its website. 

Dr Hilary Cass’ independent review was sharply critical of some treatments, such as puberty blockers, for going beyond current medical evidence. Its publication has further widened deep splits within the Greens over gender issues.  

Hatch, Jude English, Emma Bateman and Dawn Furness have all been suspended or expelled from the Green Party in the last five years, in what they see as a purge of gender critical voices within the party.

In February, a court ruled that Shahrar Ali, a Green Party spokesperson, was wrongfully removed from his position over his views on transgender rights. The party’s financial auditors had previously noted the case left "uncertainty" about its ability to keep running normally.

But in an online meeting this week about the Cass Review, Hatch claimed Ali was “shouted down” for suggesting Green Party policy should be changed to check the impacts of gender ideology on young lesbian women. She said the meeting also saw, “supreme efforts to discredit Cass by other people”.

Ali also pressed for the Green Party to make a firm statement on the Cass Review in this meeting, after the initial statement was removed, said Hatch.

Hatch, who was suspended in 2023, said the group is now exploring “whether there would be some way of taking a group action” under the Green Women’s Declaration, initiated by Green Party members believing in the right to advocate for women as a sex.

This was “because of the way that women are being persecuted, not just because of our beliefs now, but also on the basis of our sex; that we cannot advocate for our sex. That’s sex discrimination”.

The Green Party disciplinary committee suspended Hatch from the party after she sent an email to members of the GPW detailing alleged discrimination against gender critical women within the party.

However, she argued that the committee had interpreted the code of conduct in a way that is discriminatory: “The law trumps any spurious interpretation of a political party's code of conduct. Because ultimately, they are interpreting the code of conduct in a way that is discriminatory, and that's not lawful. Even a membership association cannot do that.”

Hatch said that most recent chair Jude English was suspended “partly because she was advocating for same sex attraction as a lesbian woman”, explaining that there is “a situation there where she's been discriminated against on multiple counts, also on the basis of her sexuality”.

Green Party co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay during the launch of their local election campaign in Bristol (Alamy)

She added that the Green Party had decided not to suspend councillors accused of making antisemitic comments, instead allowing them to apologise. However, those expressing gender critical beliefs had, in cases like hers, faced instant suspension, she said.

“Regardless of what your view on what their statements are, the party’s treated them very differently. It's allowed them to make an apology, or retract the statement. I'm not aware of anybody who's been suspended for making those questionable statements,” she said.

“[The statements] have been made externally, and they were elected candidates, or elected representatives of the party. I'm just a person in a special interest group, I wrote to my membership, and I was suspended from the party.”

Hatch estimates the Green Party is currently facing around half a dozen legal challenges. Alison Teal, who was suspended from the Green Party in 2022 for her views on trans rights and now running as an Independent in Sheffield Central, has sent a pre-action letter warning of court proceedings. Dawn Furness, who has been suspended from the party for two years, has also sent a pre-action letter to the party.

Bateman, a former long-standing chair of GPW, has been expelled from the party three times, suspended twice and received four no-fault suspensions over wanting to, “make it possible for women to talk about their sex based rights in the Green Party”. She is now taking the Green Party to court.

English was suspended as a Bristol councillor in March. She claimed she received a no fault suspension to prevent her from standing as a candidate. “The complaint is specific in that my gender critical views should prevent me from being a Green councillor, should prevent me from sitting on the Green administration in Bristol and should prevent me from being in the party. All those things are, of course, completely illegal. But the Green Party has lost its way.”

She added: “If we'd had an internal whipping system here in Bristol, or some kind of disciplinary system here where I could have said, ‘Look, this is just ridiculous. You shouldn’t be allowed to do this’, we might not have got into this terrible situation where I’m going to have to take them to court like Emma [Bateman].”

PoliticsHome Newsletters

PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Sophie Church - Green Shoots: How the Green Party made gains in 2024

Categories

Political parties