Local Labour Party branch pressures pub into cancelling Conservative-run debate with gender-critical activist

Labour has been accused of being “undemocratic authoritarians” after a local party pressured a venue into cancelling a Conservative-run, multi-party debate over the attendance of gender-critical women’s rights campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen.

Labour has been accused of being “undemocratic authoritarians” after a local party pressured a venue into cancelling a Conservative-run, multi-party debate over the attendance of gender-critical women’s rights campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen, reports the Mail.

The Tottenham Conservative Association was due to hold a debate on ‘The Future of British Politics’ last Saturday, but the Clissold Arms pub in Muswell Hill, north London, told organisers at short notice that it was being cancelled following complaints.

The Association has invited representatives from several political parties, and speakers were to have included organiser and local Conservative Chairman Elliot Hammer, Ms Keen – from her Party of Women, ex-Lib Dem Lembit Opik and SDP mayoral hopeful Amy Gallagher.

The Party of Women was registered by Ms Keen and authorised by the Electoral Commission earlier this month, on February 8th.

Mr Hammer said representatives from Labour including Tottenham MP David Lammy were invited to the debate, but none were available. He added that Liberal Democrats, Greens and Reform had also been asked to take part in the debate, but they had not taken the offer up.

In the build up to the event, the Hornsey and Friern Barnet Constituency Labour Party decided to send a letter to the pub, claiming that: “Keen’s events often attract other far right groups including neo-Nazi groups on a recent tour of Australia”.

It’s certainly true that Keen held a headline grabbing #LetWomenSpeak event last year in Melbourne, Victoria. It’s also true that a group of far-right, feminist and lesbian hating protesters from the country’s National Socialist Network (or “sad, pathetic men”, as Keen described them) staged a demonstration nearby. But as Victoria Police has since made clear, they were one of six groups holding protests, counter-protests and parallel protests all at the same time. The Australian Jewish Council also condemned the “ugly thugs” who “crashed” Keen’s rally.

According to the country’s Liberal MP Moira Deeming, who was in attendance at Keen’s event, she and others were initially unaware that this group were fascists – dressed all in black and with their faces hidden, many simply assumed they were members of the far-left group Antifa. It was only when some of the men started performing Sieg Heil salutes that the truth dawned, and “horrified” members of the #LetWomenSpeak contingent began calling on the police to intervene, which they refused to do.

Hornsey and Friern Barnet Constituency Labour Party’s letter went on to accuse Ms Keen of “extremely transphobic views” and of harassing transgender people, before claiming that her attendance would create a “dangerous and hostile environment for local trans people”.

Explaining its decision to cancel the event, the Clissold Arms told the Mail: “Due to overwhelming number of objections from local residents, the management of the Clissold Arms decided to cancel this event at our venue, but also because we were not informed that this was a debate between different groups.”

“We are a much-loved non-party political community gastro pub, and we value our relationship with this amazing local community.”

Speaking to the Mail, Ms Keen hit out at Labour, saying: “I’m no longer shocked when authoritarians shut down my right to speak. It’s why I host all of my #LetWomenSpeak events in the public square.”

Addressing the allegations in the letter from the local Labour Party, she said: “Over the last few years I have organised free speech events all across the globe and the one thing guaranteed is that a swarm of masked faced, blue haired, flag waving trans activists will attempt to intimidate us into silence with their posh voices and violent threats.

“We must return to the time where freedom of speech was a principle we valued and upheld,” she added.

Organiser Mr Hammer said it was “deeply undemocratic” for a party to stop debates attended by representatives from political parties that were all approved by the Electoral Commission, adding: “In a general election year that’s very alarming.”