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Green Party spokesman sues after being sacked for transgender views

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 19/02/2022 Ewan Somerville
Shahrar Ali is suing the Green Party, alleging discrimination of gender-critical beliefs - Eddie Mulholland © Provided by The Telegraph Shahrar Ali is suing the Green Party, alleging discrimination of gender-critical beliefs - Eddie Mulholland

A Green Party spokesman is bringing legal action against his former colleagues after he was sacked because of his views on the transgender debate.

Shahrar Ali, 53, was removed as the spokesman for policing and domestic safety on February 5 after activists complained that his tweets about women's sex-based rights were transphobic.

Party officials ruled that “his decision to champion a highly controversial position in the trans rights debate is not compatible” with his role.

Mr Ali is now suing the party, alleging discrimination of gender-critical beliefs under the 2010 Equality Act, in what could be a landmark case.

As a bitter civil war engulfs Britain’s fifth-largest political party, its own equality tsars have denounced a “hostile environment” for debate and senior party members have quit in protest at its stance on transgender issues.

Shahrar Ali, ousted by the Green Party over his views on the transgender debate - Eddie Mulholland © Eddie Mulholland Shahrar Ali, ousted by the Green Party over his views on the transgender debate - Eddie Mulholland

Dr Ali, a former deputy leader who was a spokesman for nine years, has publicly backed the rights of women to defend single-sex spaces such as prisons, refuges and sports categories, rather than for them to be opened without limits to males who identify as women.

He has stressed that “a woman is commonly defined as an adult human female and, genetically, typified by two XX chromosomes…these facts are not in dispute”, which some say puts him at odds with the Green Party’s stance that trans women are women.

The Green member of 20 years has also called for more safeguards in the prescription of puberty blockers for children and raised concerns about the influence of the lobby group Stonewall.

Subjected to 'cancel culture'

Now Dr Ali, a research manager at Queen Mary, University of London, told The Telegraph he had performed his role “dutifully”, but that he had been subjected to “authoritarianism” and “cancel culture”.

“We need a compassionate politics, where it's possible to agree to disagree; and to allow others who want to debate or negotiate their rights to be left free to do so without unreasonable interference or fear of cancellation,” he said.

“There is nothing compassionate in politics about the passive aggressive injunction to, ‘Just be kind!’; or else.”


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Dr Ali was invited by the party’s spokespeople support and monitoring group (SSMG) to address his tweets on trans issues, having fought complaints from party activists over his views since 2018.

His views were understood to be behind the decision of former Green co-leader Sian Berry to step down, prompting him to run for the leadership last May with many women backing him.

Still a party member

A report was produced for the party’s executive that opted to remove Dr Ali from the role earlier this month. He remains a party member. He says he has not been given any evidence of breaking party rules, a claim the party denies.

But the SSMG's two equality and diversity coordinators withdrew from the panel in January alleging a “hostile environment” for gender-critical views.

In a scathing letter, they wrote: “This committee almost has the appearance of a kangaroo court, as there appears to be an obvious campaign from within the party against SA [Shahrar Ali].”

Dr Ali has raised £14,500 so far to crowdfund the case. His solicitor, Shazia Khan, a partner at Cole Khan Solicitors, said his suspension was “a targeted act of unlawful victimisation”.

"My client has commenced pre-action protocol in claims of harassment, victimisation and direct discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010 against the Green Party of England & Wales,” she told The Telegraph.

“Dr Ali has been subject to a deliberate, coordinated, and strategic targeting because of his gender critical beliefs, he is vocal in support of women’s rights and the use and misuse of language in relation to sex and gender.”

Free speech and party policies

Earlier this month, Emma Bateman, the co-chair of the Green Party’s women’s branch had her membership suspended over her gender-critical stance, while Zoe Hatch, a Green councillor and party executive member, quit in protest at its trans policies.

The Green Party said it “strongly defends the right of party members to contest our policies and embraces both free speech and respectful deliberation”.

A spokesman added: “However, our spokespeople have an additional layer of responsibility and have all signed a code of conduct which makes it clear that those representing the party at this level promote our policies, which have been voted for by members, and work towards party unity.

“Earlier this month, the Green Party Executive removed Shahrar Ali from his role as party spokesperson due to breaches of this code of conduct. The decision has no impact on Dr Ali's party membership.

“Like all political parties, we reserve the right to change our frontbench according to the needs and reputation of the party.”

Last year, a High Court judge ruled that gender-critical views are a protected belief under the Equality Act, after Maya Forstater won an appeal tribunal having lost her think tank job for saying people cannot change their sex.

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