Shahrar Ali removed as Green Party spokesperson
The Green Party of England and Wales has removed Shahrar Ali from his role as the party’s spokesperson for policing and domestic safety. The decision was confirmed by the chair of the party’s executive Liz Reason on Twitter. According to Reason, “the Green Party Executive has removed Shahrar Ali from his role as party spokesperson for breaches of the Speakers’ Code of Conduct.”
Ali was appointed to the position in June 2021. At the time of his appointment, Ali came under considerable criticism from party members and others, many of whom alleged that he had a record of transphobia. The following month, the party’s official youth and student wing – the Young Greens – passed a motion calling for his removal.
Ali’s role as a spokesperson is also widely believed to be behind Sian Berry’s decision not to re-stand for the party leadership after her co-leader Jonathan Bartley resigned. Announcing her decision, Berry said:
there is now an inconsistency between the sincere promise to fight for trans rights and inclusion in my work and the message sent by the party’s choice of front bench representatives.
Following the criticism of his initial appointment, Ali told Bright Green in June 2021 that he had “fought for the human rights of the marginalised and voiceless in our society for decades”. He said:
I have fought for the human rights of the marginalised and voiceless in our society for decades, and will continue to do so, for the LGBTIQA+, disabled and ethnic minority communities and for the rights of women and children, too.
Prior to the decision to remove him as a spokesperson Ali released a statement in which he referred to “a recommendation from a newly formed Spokespeople Support and Monitoring Sub-committee that [his] Spokesperson appointment be suspended.” In this statement, Ali claimed to have “done nothing wrong” and to have “stood by the principles and values of the Party for twenty years; nine years as a national Spokesperson, two of which as Deputy Leader.”
Alongside this statement, Ali launched a crowdfunder for a legal case he intends to bring against the party. In doing so, he claims to have been “subjected to unrelenting abuse, harassment and detriment” for expressing “gender critical views”. He goes on to allege that by removing him as a spokesperson, the party is in breach of the 2010 Equality Act. At the time of publication, the crowdfunder as received over £11,000 in donations.
Ali has since tweeted his response to the decision. He said it was “very disheartening” to hear of his removal, and vowed to “challenge this mistreatment under Gender Critical protected belief”.
The termination of Ali’s appointment has generated significant response on social media – including from prominent Greens in the UK. Co-leader of the Scottish Green Party Patrick Harvie said that the decision to remove Ali “had been a long time coming”, and described it as “positive news”. Meanwhile, Sian Berry said it was a “wise decision”. She added that she wished to “apologise to members and allies that I was not able to ensure our actions matched our values at a much earlier stage in what I know has been a personally painful process for many of you.”
The party’s LGBTIQA+ wing – the LGBTIQA+ Greens – also welcomed Ali’s removal. The group told Bright Green:
In light of today’s decision by the Green Party of England and Wales Executive, we welcome this step.
For us to be a united party, we are urgently urging the Executive and Regional Council to push forward with changes that are outdated and in need on a complete overhaul.
We have a duty to protect LGBTIQA+ members and we will continue to ensure and will hold the governing bodies to account if they fail to act in an effective and timely manner.
Prior to the decision being taken, a member of the party’s executive – Zoe Hatch – publicly resigned from the body and from the party in protest over being asked to remove Ali as a spokesperson. In her resignation statement, Hatch said removing Ali would be “wrong on the basis of freedom of speech”. She also claimed that people who advocate for trans people to be recognised as their gender on the basis of self-identification “inadvertently support nefarious individuals, male predators and abusers”
Ali has stood for the leadership of the Green Party three times. In the 2020 contest, he received his best result, coming third with 23.6 per cent of first preference votes.
The Green Party’s has strong policies in support of trans rights, including support for self-identification as the basis of obtaining a gender recognition certificate, and for increased provision of gender identity clinics.
Bright Green approached Ali for comment on the decision to terminate his position. At the time of publication, he had not replied. A Green Party spokesperson reiterated the comments made in Reason’s tweet.
PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now.
This article was amended on February 5 to include additional comment from the LGBTIQA+ Greens, Sian Berry and Shahrar Ali.