David Lammy was grilled by BBC Radio 5 Live’s Rachel Burden and was confronted with his comments on trans rights where he accused some Labour members of hoarding rights. Ms Burden pressured Mr Lammy to answer the comments as she accused the Labour frontbencher of attacking women in his party for being worried about their protected spaces being under threat. But Mr Lammy appeared furious at the suggestion and told Ms Burden, as a black man, he would take no lectures from her on rights campaigning.
Mr Lammy appeared at a Labour Party conference fringe event and discussed trans rights with those in attendance.
But the frontbencher’s comments at the event caused a stir when he was reported as saying “there are some dinosaurs on the right” and “those dinosaurs exist in our own party”.
He added those individuals were hoarding rights and said there were always debates around giving no rights to groups who have been denied them for a long time.
But many have questioned who Mr Lammy was referring to as “dinosaurs” with Ms Burden asking Mr Lammy if he was referring to women during his appearance on 5 Live.
He told the programme: “I specifically called those people anti-trans so unless you identify as being anti-trans I think it’s disingenuous to describe that as a woman.
“This is a sensitive debate that needs much more light than dark.”
Ms Burden added there were many women who see their rights being “eroded” because of the trans debate and asked Mr Lammy whether it was transphobic to believe women who are born biologically female should be entitled to their own spaces.
Mr Lammy avoided the point and discussed statistics that show a quarter of trans people commit suicide.
He added there were many women who were sensitive of their safe spaces with Ms Burden then stating it was wrong to call those women worried about their rights as being “dinosaurs”.
Mr Lammy said: “With great respect to you… as a black man who is a descendant of enslaved people, I am not going to take any lectures about rights.
“I have fought hard for rights on behalf of all sorts of people, I stood up in Parliament and argued for same-sex marriage, I’m someone who identifies as a feminist so I’m not going to take any lectures on rights…”
Ms Burden interrupted and said she was not lecturing the Labour shadow secretary but was echoing concerns many women have on the trans issue.
Mr Lammy appeared to get angry with the radio host, calling the debate a “distraction” and said he was “calling it out for what it is”.
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The pair continued to argue and shout over each other as the programme was forced to cut for the news bulletin.
Trans issues have dominated parts of the Labour conference this week after a Labour MP refused to attend over safety fears due to her comments on trans people.
Rosie Duffield criticised a tweet that said “individuals with a cervix” and was called transphobic by trans rights supporters.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was “not right” to say only women have a cervix with Labour frontbenchers coming to his defence.
Shadow Trade Secretary Emily Thornberry said it was “factually inaccurate” to say only women have a cervix.