‘Politics is nasty… But I am used to so much worse’: Rosie Duffield hits out at Keir Starmer aide

‘Politics is nasty… But I am used to so much worse’: Labour MP Rosie Duffield hits out at Keir Starmer aide ‘for briefing against her’ amid fallout from transgender storm

The female Labour MP who says the party has a woman problem has hit out at Sir Keir Starmer’s top spin doctor for briefing against her.

Rosie Duffield accused Matthew Doyle of trying to undermine her by spreading rumours that she spent more time with fellow women’s rights campaigner JK Rowling than in her Canterbury constituency.

She also insisted she had been in to see Opposition leader Sir Keir only once, rather than numerous times as had been claimed by Mr Doyle, his executive director of communications.

It comes after Ms Duffield, who was heckled by her own side in a Commons debate on transgender rights, likened her treatment by the party to her experience in an abusive relationship.

Rosie Duffield was heckled by her own side in a Commons debate on transgender rights, likened her treatment by the party to her experience in an abusive relationship

A leaked recording, published by the Guido Fawkes website yesterday, provides more details of comments first revealed by The Mail on Sunday.

In the audio clip, senior Labour staffer Mr Doyle admits that the situation regarding Ms Duffield is ‘irritating’ but insists it does not do the party ‘any actual damage’.

The aide – who previously worked for Sir Tony Blair – claims Ms Duffield has been in to see Sir Keir ‘a number of times but she also then does incredibly disingenuous things’.

‘There are people in Canterbury who say it would be nice if it’s possible to spend a bit more time actually in Canterbury rather than hanging out with JK Rowling,’ he says.

In response, Ms Duffield said she had ‘never had the pleasure of meeting’ the adviser, who was apparently recorded ‘loudly ranting about me’ in Parliament on Friday.

She said that ‘while he was overheard loudly opining on my whereabouts and choice of friends’, she was meeting people in her constituency. ‘On a more serious note, when women are considered difficult, these statements are obviously designed to undermine us,’ she wrote on Twitter. ‘Sow a little seed of doubt… rumours that might catch on. Politics is nasty. But think on. I am used to so much worse.’

She also said there were a ‘couple of inaccurate comments from this chap’ as she had been in to see Sir Keir only once, in September 2021, and claimed the leader had not been to Canterbury.

Rosie Duffield accused Matthew Doyle (pictured), Keir Starmer's top spin doctor, of trying to undermine her by spreading rumours about her

Rosie Duffield accused Matthew Doyle (pictured), Keir Starmer’s top spin doctor, of trying to undermine her by spreading rumours about her 

Last night, Harry Potter author JK Rowling shared a link to Mr Doyle’s comments, tweeting: ‘Rosie Duffield, an ex-assistant teacher, single mother and survivor of domestic abuse won Labour a seat they thought was unwinnable.

‘Post-Corbyn, she was returned to Parliament with an increased majority. This is how Labour repays her.’

Labour sources insisted the aide had not been briefing against Ms Duffield and defended her right to speak out.

Sir Keir insisted his party must have ‘respect and tolerance’ despite differing views on gender rights.

It came as the Labour backbencher who barracked Ms Duffield in the Commons last week denied trying to intimidate Tory MP Miriam Cates, by crossing the floor of the chamber to sit close to her as she spoke in a fractious debate on transgender rights.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle yesterday insisted he had moved to a different seat on his way to a vote and would ‘never deliberately intimidate anyone’.

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