Labour candidate not attending local hustings due to ‘constant trolling’

A Labour General Election candidate, who has been a defender of women’s rights and female-only spaces, has said she is not attending local hustings due to “constant trolling”.

Rosie Duffield, who is running for the Canterbury seat on July 4, said the “extremely difficult decision” was made because the “actions of a few fixated individuals” have made her attendance “impossible”.

Ms Duffield told The Times earlier this week that she has spent £2,000 on bodyguards while campaigning.

In a statement on X on Friday, she said: “The constant trolling, spite and misrepresentation from certain people, having built up over a number of years and being pursued with a new vigour during this election, is now affecting my sense of security and wellbeing.

“The result is now that I feel unable to be focused on giving a clear presentation of the Labour Party’s manifesto commitments.”

A Labour Party spokesperson described the right to campaign as a “vital” aspect of British democracy.

“It is vital to our democracy that prospective parliamentary candidates are able to campaign freely,” the spokesperson said.

“We completely condemn any intimidation tactics towards candidates of any party.”

General Election campaign 2024
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Ms Duffield, who believes that self-identification threatens women’s rights to female-only spaces, previously claimed that she has been given the cold shoulder by Labour leadership over her views on trans issues.

Last month, Ms Duffield complained that Sir Keir Starmer offered her “no apology” when the two finally spoke after she told a whip she had not been talked to in two and a half years.

Sir Keir previously criticised the would-be MP’s claim that “only women have a cervix”, but later told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that “biologically, she of course is right about that” and called for an end to “toxic” debates on gender.

The remarks drew the ire of Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who accused him of having a “brass neck”.

Earlier this month an internet troll who posted “chilling” online messages threatening to kill Rowling and Ms Duffield was spared jail.

Glenn Mullen, 31, of Clyde Road, Manchester, uploaded audio clips in Gaelic threatening to kill Ms Rowling “with a big hammer” and said he was “going to see Rosie Duffield at the bar with a big gun”, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.

The Labour Party has been approached for comment.