Britain’s equalities watchdog has suspended its £120,000 probe into its embattled boss after trans activists hounded her for publicly defending female-only spaces.
Baroness Falkner of Margravine, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), had been subjected to ‘vile abuse’, having been the target of a slew of complaints from officials alleging ‘bullying’, ‘transphobia’ and ‘harassment’.
It comes after the 68-year-old called for a change in the law to defend women-only spaces, urging ministers to update the definition of ‘sex’ in the 2010 Equality Act to make clear it refers to biological sex rather than self-identification.
Her plea led to trans activists launching a ‘witch-hunt’ against her, bombarding the EHRC with complaints, with the watchdog shelling out £120,000 of taxpayer’s cash to pay for an independent barrister to investigate the claims.
But the probe plunged the watchdog into crisis, opening a rift between its leaders and the officials tasked with implementing their decisions to uphold equality law, and sparked outcry across the political spectrum since it emerged on Tuesday.
Amid a mounting backlash, the EHRC today said: ‘This investigation has been paused.This is while we seek legal advice on the impact of leaked confidential information. We must ensure its integrity and that it is fair to all parties concerned.’
The parliamentarians strongly ‘condemned’ the programme for launching an ‘irresponsible attack’ against Baroness Kishwer Falkner (pictured) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
The move comes hours after 54 cross-party peers including Lord Frost, Berita Politik Baron Roberts and Baroness Jenkin backed the EHRC chief, saying she had been ‘irresponsibly attacked’.
Lord Strasberger added she had been targeted for ‘shaking up the EHRC’ and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne said she was being subjected ‘a witch hunt’ for speaking up for women.
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