The Green Party has been defeated in court after a tribunal found they discriminated against their former deputy leader over his views on gender.
Dr Shahrar Ali, 54, who served as deputy between 2014 and 2016, took legal action against the party over what he described as a ‘fanatical clampdown on legitimate debate’ by trans rights activists.
The case represents the first instance in which a political activist has sued their own party after being persecuted for having gender critical beliefs.
Dr Ali has now been awarded £9,100 in damages by the Mayor’s and City County Court.
Reacting to the ruling on X, formerly Twitter, he wrote: ‘Wow! Just wow! This is HUGE!! Our gender critical beliefs Are worthy of respect in a political party!! Thank you!’
Shahrar Ali has successfully sued the Green Party after a row broke out over his views on gender
Reacting to the ruling on X, formerly Twitter , he wrote: ‘Wow! Just wow! This is HUGE!! Our gender critical beliefs Are worthy of respect in a political party!! Thank you!’
The ruckus began with a Twitter post in July 2020, in which Dr Ali issued a statement titled ‘What Is A Woman?’ detailing his thoughts on the rights of women and girls
This trial followed Dr Ali’s removal as the party spokesman in February 2022, with officials ruling that his ‘controversial’ views on trans rights did not align with the role.
The politician believes that gender should not be confused with biological sex which he states is ‘immutable’.
The ruckus began with a Twitter post in July 2020, in which Dr Ali issued a statement titled ‘What Is A Woman?’ detailing his thoughts on the rights of women and girls.
He wrote: ‘A woman is commonly defined as an adult human female and, genetically, typified by two XX chromosomes. These facts are not in dispute nor should they be in any political party.
‘We campaign for the rights of women and girls to be treated equally on the basis of the protected characteristic of biological sex, as enshrined in the Equality Act 2010.’
While this led to uproar among trans activists in the Green Party, Dr Ali was not sacked until 2022 once he had become the policing and domestic safety spokesman.
In the ruling, Judge Hellman stated: ‘I find that by removing him as spokesperson in a procedurally unfair way, The Green Party discriminated against Dr Ali because of his [gender critical] protected belief contrary to section 101 of the Equality Act.
‘Dr Ali’s removal was, in summary, procedurally unfair in that he was dismissed for breaches of the SGCC [the Green Party’s Spokespersons’ Code of Conduct] although the Green Party failed to identify, consider, or make findings in relation to any such breaches.
‘Dr Ali also seeks a declaration that he has been subjected to unlawful discrimination. I grant the declaration sought, although it does not obviate the need for damages.’
The bitter legal battle saw the party draw up plans last September to increase membership fees by an enormous 50 per cent in order to cover legal costs – estimated at between £200,000 and £400,000, the BBC reports.
Financial auditors for the Green Party noted ‘uncertainty’ whether it was capable of running normally alongside the hefty costs.
The enormous spike was formally approved at Green Party Conference last october, with fees rising from £3.33 per month month to £5 a month, alongside a £6 a year fee for concessions.
Dr Ali expressed ‘controversial’ views on trans rights
Dr Ali believes that gender should not be confused with biological sex which he claims is ‘immutable’
At the time, the party insisted it was in order to fund its ‘biggest general election campaign ever’.
Dr Ali successfully defended his rights under the 2010 Equality Act
Dr Ali’s case is the latest in a series of tribunals which have seen people with gender critical views win against organisations imposing gender ideology as fact.
To date, the biggest landmark ruling is the lawsuit brought by Maya Forstater, in which gender critical beliefs was found to be a protected characteristic. Ms Forstater is tax expert who lost her job at think-tank the Centre for Global Development (CGD) in 2018 after she tweeted that ‘men cannot be women’.
After losing an initial tribunal, Ms Forstater took her case to the High Court and won on appeal.
In June 2021, the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that Forstater’s gender critical beliefs were covered under the protected belief characteristic within the meaning of the Equality Act. She was later awarded more than £100,000 in damages.
The Forstater ruling, as it became known, was widely seen as a game changer for employment law in how individuals with gender critical beliefs are treated by their bosses.
Last month, lesbian Professor Jo Phoenix won a tribunal against the Open University after she was hounded out for expressing gender critical views.
The judgment upheld nearly 20 of her claims and was highly critical against vindictive staff who organised an open letter against Dr Phoenix in order to initiate a pile on. Damages will be decided for Dr Phoenix at a later hearing.
The Chair of the Green Party executive committee, Jon Nott, said: ‘We are pleased that the court has recognised that a democratic political party has the right to select those who speak for it on the basis that they can and will communicate and support party policy publicly.
‘We welcome the findings in the judgment that members of political parties have “fundamental party rights” which include the right to disagree, to advocate for and against policies and positions adopted or proposed in the party, and to organise for those who agree with them and against those who do not, and that the Equality Act is not intended to interfere with those rights.
‘The party acknowledges that there were procedural shortfalls in how we deselected one of our spokespeople. We apologise for failing in this instance to live up to the standards that both we and the court expect.’