Alison Teal: Sheffield Green candidate axed over transgender views to stand as independent

A politician axed as the Green Party candidate for Sheffield Central over her views on transgender issues is to stand as an independent.

Alison Teal, a former councillor who won a national award from the Greens in 2017 in recognition of her campaigning against the Sheffield tree-felling scandal, had been selected by local members as the party’s candidate for the seat back in September 2022.

But she has been suspended since October 2022 following a complaint about series of tweets she has made about transgender issues in recent years connected to her position that sex is an immutable biological characteristic.

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She said today that her 19-month suspension shows the party is “either incompetent or malicious”. She said she believes “authoritarian identity politics has taken centre stage” in the party above its previous focus on climate change.

Alison Teal has resigned from the Green Party and is to stand as an independent candidate in Sheffield CentralAlison Teal has resigned from the Green Party and is to stand as an independent candidate in Sheffield Central
Alison Teal has resigned from the Green Party and is to stand as an independent candidate in Sheffield Central

The Green Party was contacted for comment.

The complaint against Ms Teal was made by a Sheffield councillor she did not wish to name. One of the contentious tweets highlighted in the complaint related to her posting a link to an article about comedian and then-prospective Labour candidate Eddie Izzard using a female toilet at a hustings event.

In a tweet sent on October 1, 2022, shortly after her selection and before she was suspended, Ms Teal quoted a line from the article which read “The loss of women’s rights starts with looking the other way for an Eddie Izzard and ends with a society that doesn’t flinch at placing a male sex offender in jail with women”. Her tweet described the article as a “powerful piece” and said the matters raised were “serious issues we must discuss”.

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Ms Teal has previously said she did not consider any of her highlighted tweets to be transphobic.

In February, she also accused the Green Party of delaying the disciplinary process over the matter so she could be replaced with an “emergency selection” once the General Election was called.

An emergency selection was made last month with Councillor Angela Argenzio chosen to replace Ms Teal as the candidate.

In a statement announcing her resignation from the party, Ms Teal said: “Having devoted considerable time and effort to The Green Party over the past ten years I would have preferred not to be forced to leave to retain my dignity.

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“Being on no-fault suspension has given me a taste of how the party might govern and the prospect is frightening. Nineteen months on a no-fault suspension shows the party is either incompetent or malicious, and currently unfit to govern. For my self-respect, I am tendering my resignation.”

She added: “The extreme heat and weather ravaging the planet, the risk to food production and water supplies, and the harrowing prospect of human suffering on an unimaginable scale used to be our focus. Now authoritarian identity politics has taken centre stage and those of us who point out the challenges of intersections of oppression are referred to the party’s disciplinary process.

"I have lost my faith in the Green Party but I will never lose faith in people determined to combine their efforts to work for positive change rather than passively hoping someone will save them.”

Prior to Ms Teal’s announcement today, in response to her replacement as a candidate Councillor Douglas Johnson, the leader of the Green Party in Sheffield, said: “As Alison Teal remains suspended from the Green Party, she is not eligible to stand as a candidate.

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“The suspension is handled nationally and the local party has had no involvement with the process.

“Sheffield Green Party had to use emergency selection procedures to have a candidate in place by the deadline.

“I am delighted Angela Argenzio was selected. She is a well-known, credible councillor for Broomhill and Sharrow Vale ward and is a leading member of Sheffield City Council. She has a wide range of experiences both as a teacher and working in the voluntary sector.

“She will make an excellent MP.”

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