David TC Davies MP: “I call on all MPs to show some patriotism and get behind our Prime Minister”
A famously outspoken MP, David Davies is not one for cowering in the face of controversy. His most recent public debacle played out on Twitter after he replied to a tweet by Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) Jennifer James and defended the (unfortunately unfashionable) view that “somebody possessing a penis and pair of testicles is not a woman”.
Somebody possessing a penis & pair of testicles is definitely not a woman. This should be a biological fact not a matter for political debate. At leastnwe can agree on something.
— David Davies MP (@DavidTCDavies) January 27, 2018
As he has written before for The Conservative Woman, Mr Davies holds strong views on what constitutes a ‘man’ and a ‘woman’, though to anyone with a degree of intelligence these “strong views” tend to also be “common sense”. It was this issue of biological fact being altered by political agenda that I first asked Mr Davies about in our interview.
“That’s how it was when I was brought up,” he says when I mention the above tweet.
“There’s seems to be a kind of fad for transgenderism at the moment. It’s all sort of happened in the last year or so. People have started banging on about the rights of people in possession of a penis and testicles to have themselves reclassified as women.
“The truth is there are a very small number of people whose sex cannot be determined at birth, and they should have a great deal of support from the government and the health service. So this is not a discussion about people who are hermaphrodites. What we’re talking about here is people who identify as the opposite sex to the one they were born as. Now I personally am a libertarian – if a bloke wants to walk around in a dress and call himself Sarah, that’s fine with me providing it’s not having an impact on anybody else.
“but we need to be careful if people want to change their sex, legally, and take advantage of what that means. A formerly male prisoner in possession of full male genitalia can identify as a woman, this means they get transferred to a female prison.
A male prison guard who decided to identify as a woman, could then find themselves working in a women’s prison and carrying out intimate searches on female prisoners.
A Sportsman who decided they were a sportswoman would be able to take part in women’s sports giving them some serious advantages.”
For Mr Davies, these are the obvious problems. The issue goes deeper.
“I’ve had a transgender woman phoning the office telling me they have every right to get changed in whatever changing rooms they want,” he said.
“A lesbian activist who organised a Lesbian Women’s festival in West Wales complained somebody with male genitalia attended and demanded to use the communal washing facilities.
“I organised an event in Parliament where we heard from a woman who was abused when she was younger. She said she went to a women’s counselling centre which really helped her. And the only reason she was able to speak openly was because she knew no man would be on the premises. But now that same organisation is being told it has to accept male-bodied people who identify as transgender.
“It’s impacting on women’s rights and it’s just wrong.”
When I suggest there’s also a problem around young girls being taken advantage of by adult males who, by manipulating such a situation, can enter female changing rooms, Mr Davies agreed. He states simply that women and men probably just want a bit of privacy.
“The vast majority of people who are transgender have not actually had the operation and therefore have the genitalia of the sex they were born with.
“I’m not saying most transgender people are offenders. What I’m worried about are men who are saying they’re transgender in order to gain access to vulnerable people. They may not be transgender at all, but will be able to use the law to enable them to carry out offenses.
We go on to discuss the more absurd, extreme examples of this slippery slope. From the man who identifies as a dog to the people who identify as disabled and actively seek surgery to have their limbs removed or made useless. And though this may seem to be a strange phenomenon, Mr Davies wonders how far the legal recognition of how we identify as individuals will go.
“It may sound ridiculous but if a male bodied person can be recognised legally was a woman who is to say that at some point a human being will not get the right to be legally recognised as being something else.
I return to Mr Davies’ interaction with the LGBT+ Conservatives Twitter account, which accused him of transphobia and suggested “what the C in [his] name stands for”. Mr Davies fired back that “the use of the word ‘c**t’ is abusive and misogynistic”.
“Let’s put it this way, I’ve had an apology so we’ll leave it at that” Mr Davies said.
“But I suspect that the majority of Conservative members would agree with me.”
When I suggest that, in response to the LGBT+ Conservatives’ claim, Conservative Party policy is out of kilter with Conservatism and Conservatives, Mr Davies says.
“If you go and speak to people outside of a small, Westminster bubble, and ask them ‘if someone has a penis and testicles, are they male or female?’ I am pretty certain that most people would say they are male.
“This is how we were raised. If you want to get rid of these definitions of gender, it’s going to be very confusing for kids.
Mr Davies then goes on to observe that this does not seem to be a left-right issue and he has actually received a lot of support from people on the opposite end of the political spectrum.
“I’ve been bowled over by the support I’ve had from hard-core left-wing activists and some in the gay community especially lesbian activists,” he said.
“I held a transgender seminar in Westminster in a room full of people who agreed with me but wouldn’t vote for me in a million years! I was surrounded by lesbian activists, Momentum activists, and we all were saying the same thing.
“There’s clearly a problem with transgender people who get abuse. This is wrong and no-one in their right mind would condone this. People who verbally or physically attack someone who is transgender should feel the full force of the law.
“But if you possess male genitalia, there are places you simply shouldn’t be – women’s changing rooms, sporting contests, prisons and so on. It’s a matter of plain common sense.”
Mr Davies goes on to give an example from one of the speakers at the Westminster meeting: “She told us that she exhibited what were traditionally masculine traits when she was younger. She expressed a concern that were she to do the same now, she would be mistakenly labelled as transgender and pushed down a medical pathway. Mr Davies worries in turn that young people now are being pushed down such a path.
“Some gay people I know are saying this is a form of conversion therapy,” he said.
“It’s like asking ‘why would you want to be gay when you could be male, or female?’”
Moving on to the persistent drama in Westminster, I ask Mr Davies if he stands by his comments made in his last interview with us when he criticised the media for suggesting that Theresa May is on her last legs.
“There are a few people on the fringes who would probably take the opportunity to get rid of her but no, there’s no plot,” he said.
“No-one in their right mind wants to get rid of Theresa May because it would just undermine the government and open the door for Jeremy Corbyn.
“I think it would be an unpatriotic act to get rid of Theresa May to be honest.
“I cannot say strongly enough how much I think we need to get behind her. And I have to say, I think we are facing the most complex diplomatic negotiations we ever have, so maybe it’s time for people in the opposition parties to get behind her too.
“We want to get the best possible deal for Britain and to do that we need to send out a united message. All the MPs who disagree with Brexit should be going to Brussels and saying, ‘we don’t like this but it’s what the British people voted for, so we need to get on with it.’
“I call on all MPs to show some patriotism and get behind our Prime Minister.”
Hopefully those in the Westminster Bubble will answer Mr Davies’ call.
David T C Davies is the Member of Parliament for Monmouth.