Feminists not welcome in Lib Dems unless they support gender neutral toilets, says peer

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A Liberal Democrat peer has claimed women cannot call themselves feminists unless they support gender neutral toilets.

Former minister Lynne Featherstone made the controversial claim as it emerged the party had recruited the transgender daughter of a convicted paedophile as a new diversity officer.

Aimee Challenor has been taken on by the party in Coventry despite leaving the Greens after her election agent father was arrested forraping a 10-year-old girl.

The move emerged after Baroness Featherstone, who is the Lib Dem’s energy and climate change spokesman, wrote a blog celebrating LGBT History Month claiming that the party had been campaigning for “gender neutral bathrooms, school uniforms and ‘X’ option on passports, official documents and forms for those who do not wish to identify as male or female.”

Calling for reform of the Gender Recognition Act, she added: “I also have a message to those people who believe they can restrict trans women’s rights, deny their human rights or exclude them from women-only spaces in the name of feminists. You are not feminists. Your views are not welcome in the Liberal Democrats.”

Ms Challenor, 21, withdrew her nomination for deputy leadership of the Green Party when her father, David Challenor, 50, was sentenced last August to 22 years for the rape and torture of a girl in the attic of the family home in Coventry. MS Challenor had twice made her father her election agent for parliamentary candidacy after his arrest, later stating she was not aware of the full extent of the allegations.

She was suspended pending an investigation and an independent inquiry by investigations consultancy Verita found MS Challenor had made a “serious error of judgment” in the appointment and criticised the Greens for “failing to see the safeguarding issues”.

Mr Challenor’s role within the party meant he continued to have access to young people despite facing trial for 20 serious sexual offences against a child that involved him also dressing up as a girl. He was known as Baloo in the party, after the popular bear character in children’s classic, The Jungle Book.

Investigators said they found it “hard to understand some of Aimee’s actions and explanations”. She blamed her autism for not having a full understanding of her responsibilities.

Ms Challenor has been on the Trans Advisory Group of LGBT charity Stonewall since 2015 and was believed to have been involved in Girlguiding’s controversial decision last year to allow biological boys to share sleeping space with girls if they identify as transgender.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said the party “have a long history of championing and fighting for trans rights and we will continue to do so.” The spokesman added that the party was aware of the circumstances surrounding Aimee’s resignation from the Green Party and made safeguarding a priority.