Email from Zoe Hatch (Co-Chair GPW) 13th October 2023
It brings me great sadness to write this email but the time to remain silent about the rifts within the party over the issues of sex and gender has long since passed.
Smears on our character
Whilst at conference last weekend, members of your GPW committee were subject to verbal attacks and smears on their good character. Your GPW Co-chair, Chesca Walton, distributed defamatory statements accusing us of wrongdoing. These baseless and unevidenced accusations are entirely without foundation and have the primary aim of disaffiliating or shutting down Green Party Women. Why a woman would want to destroy a special interest group campaigning for women’s rights, we can only wonder.
Attacks on our right to campaign
Many of your current committee were elected on the basis of believing in women’s sex-based rights. We campaigned on this topic during the election and have been involved in bringing forward the Green Women’s Declaration – a statement of our rights and beliefs and a safe haven for women who have been abused by being called Terf, Bigot, Transphobe or worse.
Escalation to physical attacks
At Green Party Conference, these attacks escalated to become physical. Leaflets were torn from people’s hands, ripped up in front of confused and innocent first time conference goers and culminated in an attack on the Green Women’s Declaration freestanding banner by Chesca Walton.
Chesca arrived at Conference on Sunday Morning and in an eyewitness account relayed to us, “She seemed to appear out of nowhere and immediately started shrieking about the banner, grabbed at it and tried to pull it down.” You can watch a video and find out more here
Chesca’s claim was that the banner was offensive to people coming into Conference and therefore she had the right to tear it down. Chesca Walton appears to believe that she has the right to silence women. You can read the banner below and decide for yourself. (We think the last point “protect women from abuse, discrimination and harassment” is particularly ironic with “freedom of belief and expression” not far behind.)
The attack and resultant criminal damage is now a matter for the police and the owner of the banner.
Despite these events and the attempts to sabotage your GPW AGM with unruly and disrespectful behaviour, our committee had resolved to put these attacks behind us and move on to more positive activities for our last few months in office.
Organised Defamatory Attack
Yesterday, we received an email outlining what can only be described as an organised defamatory smear campaign against us with the clear aim of closing down our Green Party Women’s group. This is the reason we can no longer stay silent. Why anyone would want to continue to attack a group of women who campaign for women’s rights and organise bookclubs and nature groups really does beggar belief. This systemic misogyny and sexism embedded within our party must be addressed. We know we can rely on you all to stand up for us, and in so doing stand up for you – if we ask you to. We are taking legal advice and will continue with our committee work while we address these ongoing and time-consuming matters in the background.
We remain your hard working GPW committee dedicated to serving the needs of women and girls within the party.
GPW Co-Chair on behalf of GPW