A Labour peer and former Kirkcaldy MP has quit the party amid an ongoing transphobia row.
Lord Lewis Moonie, who was MP for the Kirkcaldy constituency from 1987 to 2005, dramatically left the party on Tuesday night after having his membership suspended.
The 72-year-old was previously reprimanded after sharing controversial posts relating to transgender issues.
But after learning he was to face a disciplinary hearing over his actions, Lord Moonie of Bennochy has decided to jump before he was pushed.
“I’ve resigned from the Labour Party today,” he confirmed.
“I was accused of transphobia by the usual suspects, and told I must attend a disciplinary hearing.
“My membership suspended too.
“Not really up to fighting it so I’ve saved them the trouble.
“I feel free to carry on campaigning for women.”
I’ve resigned from the Labour Party today. I was accused of transphobia by the usual suspects, and told I must attend a disciplinary hearing. My membership suspended too. Not really up to fighting it so I’ve saved them the trouble.
I feel free to carry on campaigning for women.
— Lewis Moonie (@Moonie_l) May 14, 2019
Dr Moonie was a psychiatrist and community medicine specialist before entering Parliament and was created a life peer in 2005
Describing himself as a campaigner for women’s rights, Dr Moonie said that single-sex spaces such as toilets and changing areas, protected under the Equality Act 2010, should be not be open to those who “self-identify” as women.
He has argued women could be vulnerable to attack if single-sex spaces are not protected, maintaining his opinion has “nothing to do with genuine trans people”.
In one Tweet, he said: “Transpeople have the same rights as anyone else. What they don’t have is the right to force me to believe they acquire the sex they aspire to, nor to invade single sex spaces protected by the Equality Act 2010 unless they have undergone reassignment.”
And after being challenged about a series of intersex conditions, he described them as “rare as hen’s teeth”.
The image which led to his reprimand related to a message appearing to be pasted on the back of a van relating to transgender women using female toilets.
The Labour Party has not yet commented on Dr Moonie’s resignation but a source previously said: “It is clearly not acceptable to share such an image.
“Lord Moonie has been reminded of the high standards expected of Labour peers. The matter has been referred to the Lords Chief Whip to reinforce this reminder to Lord Moonie.”
A spokesperson for LGBT Labour said: “This behaviour is unacceptable from any member of the Labour party but especially from a Labour peer.
“We work day in, day out to ensure that Labour is leading on trans rights in the UK and we need to ensure that transphobia is eradicated from our party, politics and our society.”
Transgender Fife said women should have protected spaces but “transgender women are women too”.
A spokesperson for the group said there was a need for greater education and awareness of transgender issues.
“Transgender Fife respects the right of all individuals to have their own opinion, but is distressed at the level of animosity displayed by so many people in society on so many issues, and the amount of hatred that is stirred up against minority groups in general,” she said.
“We see this as an indication of the need for greater education and awareness in so many matters, and we do what we can to promote understanding of transgender needs within the community.”
She added: “The debate here is not really about transgender women, it is about whether male perverts are likely to dress up as women and access women only spaces in order to exercise their depravities.
“The upsurge in transgender awareness over recent years has had no effect on that, in reality, but the scaremongering surrounding transgender rights has stirred up a hornets’ nest and paints all transgender women as perverts.
“This, of course, could not be further from the truth. Being transgender is not a lifestyle choice it is a fact for so many people, many of whom are still too scared to come out in public.”