Robbie Spence – Suspended

The Green Party suspended my membership for two years, 2021 to 2023, for holding gender-critical (GC) views about women’s sex-based rights and about the harm being done to children and young people by way of puberty-blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery. All the charges against me, which alleged transphobia and anti-semitism, were dismissed in April 2023. Here is how this happened.

I joined the Green Party in 2004 and was oblivious to the gender ‘debate’ until 2019 because it was – and still is – relatively unknown and unimportant at local party level, while being dominant at the national headquarters level of our policy discussion forums and our party conference.

Deletion of my Gender Critical Green Space

When I started paying close attention in 2020 to the gender ‘debate’ in the party’s policy discussion forum, known as ‘Green Spaces’, I set up a ‘Gender Critical Green Space’. It was abruptly deleted in January 2021 by staff at head office for alleged breaches of the party’s code of conduct. When I asked what the breaches were, they could not tell me because they had deleted the entire Green Space. As far as I know, no other Green Space has been deleted in such a way (although something similar happened to the Women’s Green Space in about 2021, when it was taken down for a while).

I contend that the deletion of my Green Space was an attack on free speech and amounted to discrimination on the ground of holding protected beliefs. But the party was not ready to hear this at the time because Maya Forstater had not yet achieved her victory in her case about holding gender-critical points of view.

My two years on ‘no-fault suspension’

In February 2021, Green Party Regional Council (GPRC) placed me on ‘no-fault suspension’ (NFS) for alleged transphobia. Again, I contend that this amounted to discrimination on the ground of holding protected GC beliefs. There are several reasons.

Firstly, the timing was important. I was suspended just before Spring 2021 Conference, where I had put forward a motion opposing routine use of puberty blockers on gender non-conforming children.

Secondly, although NFS is reserved for the worst offences a party member can commit, when it came to the hearing of my case in April 2023, the Disciplinary Committee panel dismissed all the charges. There was no case to answer all along.

Thirdly, there was GPRC’s refusal to consider my defence to the suspension at any of its reviews of my case for two years. If a judicial body does not listen to both sides, that is a breach of the right to a fair trial under the Human Rights Act. Inasmuch as NFS is used against GC members like me more than other members, this amounts to discrimination.

Last but not least, in July 2022, halfway through my time on NFS, Maya Forstater won her appeal that GC views were ‘protected beliefs’ under the Equality Act 2010. I pointed out to Disciplinary Committee and GPRC that the ruling applied to membership situations like the Green Party as well as employment cases like Maya Forstater’s. But they ignored this and kept me on NFS for another nine months until my hearing in April 2023. That amounts to discrimination for holding ‘protected beliefs’ under the Equality Act.

Membership restored 2023

Now that my NFS has ended, I am keen to continue to challenge the capture of the national party committees by the gender ideology extremists and I am glad to say that I was elected in August 2023 to the Policy Development Committee (link opens on Green Party members website)