David Lammy erupts at BBC host over identity issues questions
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David Lammy and Nick Robinson clashed on Radio 4 as the Labour Party frontbencher was demanded to answer for his comments on trans rights and calling some Labour members “dinosaurs”. Mr Robinson believed Mr Lammy was referring to women in his assessment and wanted to know whether it was a good look for Labour to focus on identity politics when voters do not relate to it. But an angry Mr Lammy flipped the argument back onto Mr Robinson and said the BBC’s endless desire to ask Labour about identity politics forced the party to speak about it all the time as Mr Lammy wanted to talk about climate change or mental health on the Today Programme.
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”.
Mr Robinson took his opportunity to grill Mr Lammy over his comments after the shadow secretary said the issue was not “coming up on the doorstep” so did not want to speak about it.
The BBC journalist recalled what Director of Strategy for the Labour Party, Deborah Mattinson, said about those in the “red wall” who felt that they had little in common with “the young, quinoa eating, graduate, city-dwelling liberal remainers”.
He added those voters felt as if Labour judged them “harshly and unfairly” for their views and said they also believe women have vaginas, not “bodies with vaginas”.
But Mr Lammy was angry at the questioning and said: “Nick you could be asking me about climate change, you could be asking me about mental health…
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“You deliberately are asking me about an issue that you know does not come up on the doorstep…
“I am saying you, the BBC, are choosing to land on this subject that most British people are not talking about and spend minutes on it because it keeps Labour talking about identity issues.
“And not about the substantive policies that Keir will set out.”
Mr Robinson was taken back and swiftly moved on to allow Mr Lammy to talk about his other issues.
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Trans issues have dominated parts of the Labour conference this week after a Labour MP refused to attend 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 leaving her feeling unable to attend the conference for her safety.
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.
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