February 9, 2024 - 1:30pm

The Green Party illegally discriminated against its former deputy leader, Dr Shahrar Ali, because of his gender-critical beliefs, a court has ruled. In a stunning victory for politicians who believe in biological sex, Judge Hellman found that the party “discriminated against Dr Ali because of his protected belief contrary to section 101 of the Equality Act”. 

This morning’s judgment, which is the latest in a series of legal wins for individuals with gender-critical beliefs, has far-reaching implications for political parties in this country. Speaking on the steps of the court, Ali described it as a “landmark case”. Mocking politicians who can’t bring themselves to use words banned by trans activists, he said it was “the mother (yes, adult human female) of all gender-critical cases”. 

Ali sued after the Green Party executive committee, which included its current co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay, removed him as its spokesperson for policing and domestic safety two years ago. Ali had been outspoken in his support for a “rational” policy on sex and gender, as well as the right of women to protest about the impact of gender ideology on their health and safety. 

The judge found that his dismissal was “procedurally unfair” because the party’s executive sacked him for breaches of the spokespeople’s code of conduct without ever identifying any breaches. Ali also asked for a declaration that he had been “subjected to unlawful discrimination”. The judge granted it, along with £9,100 in damages.

The Green Party acknowledged “procedural shortfalls in how we deselected one of our spokespeople” and apologised for “failing […] to live up to the standards that both we and the court expect”. It’s a mealy-mouthed response and completely fails to address the vital issue raised by the case, which is the right of party members and officials to express legally-protected views that happen to be unpopular with activists.

This judgment constitutes a warning for political parties that have allowed trans ideology to run riot in their ranks, genuflecting to ideologues who equate a belief in biology with hate speech. It’s one of the most monstrous lies ever promulgated, turning a simple statement of fact into something not just contentious but potentially career-ending. 

Labour, the Greens, the Lib Dems and the SNP have all been complicit, along with a handful of Tories. Women (and some men) who point out that humans are born with a sex and can’t change it have been treated as pariahs, as though views accepted as mainstream for thousands of years have suddenly become shameful. 

Now, one organisation after another is discovering the financial and reputational cost of countenancing such smears. Political parties, the arts, local government and NGOs are all finding themselves in court, called to account for failing to protect individuals with sensible and perfectly legal opinions. They’ve swallowed the line that people have an innate gender identity that must be recognised even by those who don’t believe it, and have treated anyone who refuses as a heretic.

There has always been a glaring democratic deficit, to put it politely, as organisations impose the demands of trans activists on a population which hasn’t ever been consulted. Now we are seeing the result, as the courts step in to protect the rights of individuals. “This win is a wake-up call,” Ali declared on Friday morning. Let’s hope he’s right.

Joan Smith is a novelist and columnist. She has been Chair of the Mayor of London’s Violence Against Women and Girls Board since 2013. Her book Homegrown: How Domestic Violence Turns Men Into Terrorists was published in 2019.