'Hate incident' against Tory who called rival 'man in a wig'

Police record ‘hate incident’ against trans row Tory Rachel Maclean who was forced to apologise for sharing post calling rival Green Party candidate a ‘man in a wig’

  • Tory MP Rachel Maclean shared a post that called a rival a ‘man in a wig’
  • Melissa Poulton filed a complaint with West Mercia Police following the incident
  • Maclean’s comments are now on file as a result  

Police have recorded a ‘hate incident’ against the Tories’ deputy chairman after she shared a post that described a trans woman as a ‘man in a wig’.

West Mercia Police put Rachel Maclean’s comments on file following a complaint about her language by Melissa Poulton, who is standing as a Green Party candidate at the next election.

It is understood officers decided that Mrs Maclean’s remarks met the threshold for a ‘Non Crime Hate Incident’ because she is a public figure with a large number of followers on social media.

She is now trying to appeal against the decision and get her name wiped from police records. Although people who have NCHIs recorded against them do not receive criminal records, their personal information can be stored on police files in serious cases and disclosed during vetting if they are applying for sensitive jobs.

Mrs Maclean, the Conservative Party’s deputy chairman for women, said: ‘Our local police are exceptionally good.

West Mercia Police put Rachel Maclean’s (pictured) comments on file following a complaint about her language

Melissa Poulton, who is standing as a Green Party candidate at the next election, (pictured) filed the complaint

‘However, they have recorded a non-crime hate incident against me which I am challenging. As a former Home Office minister, I was involved in changing rules to bring in common sense and proportionality.

‘Originally, NCHIs were introduced in the wake of the Stephen Lawrence case and were used as intelligence-gathering tools. It seems wrong and ridiculous to use the same tool to record that a woman said a biological man cannot become a biological woman or a lesbian.

‘NCHIs have since been widened to cover any protected characteristic. It stretches credibility to believe gender critical women are in the same category as racist murderers when it comes to police data.’

Helen Joyce, of campaign group Sex Matters, said: ‘It’s both terrifying and ridiculous for the police to record a “hate incident” against a female MP for speaking the truth about a man.

‘The expansion of what constitutes “hate” to include using polite, accurate words like “man” and “male” for transwomen is just the latest way to shut up women who dare to talk publicly about matters that concern them, and to try to frighten other women into staying silent.’

Mrs Maclean reposted the ‘wig’ retort from another social media user, adding her own comment: ‘While the Greens don’t know what a woman is, my Worcestershire neighbours, the people of Bromsgrove, certainly do’ 

Melissa Poulton before transition (right) campaigning for the Conservative Party in the 2019 local elections

Melissa Poulton (pictured) has been involved in politics for 10 years and has been in the Green Party since 2020

The row erupted last week when Redditch MP Mrs Maclean shared a post on X that described Bromsgrove candidate Ms Poulton as ‘a man who wears a wig and calls himself a “proud lesbian”’.

She shared the post with her followers and commented: ‘While the Greens don’t know what a woman is, my Worcestershire neighbours the people of Bromsgrove certainly do.’

Mrs Maclean was reported to her local police force for transphobia. Athough officers initially said they were not launching a criminal investigation, police later informed Mrs Maclean that an NCHI had been recorded.

This is despite Home Office guidance, published in June, telling forces that they should not record an NCHI just because someone thinks they have experienced ‘hostility or prejudice’.

It also states that the perpetrator’s personal data should not be recorded unless the incident presents a ‘real risk of significant harm’ to vulnerable groups of a ‘real risk that a future criminal offence may be committed’.

The rules also say no one can be discriminated against for expressing the ‘gender-critical’ view that humans cannot change sex.

West Mercia Police are understood to have concluded that Mrs Maclean’s remarks may encourage anti-trans sentiment because she is a public figure.

She told the Mail last week that she would continue to speak up for women’s rights and would refuse to ‘deny reality’.

‘No matter how many times I am reported to the police, I will continue to make this stand,’ she wrote.

‘As deputy chair for women, I am clear that the law allows me to say what a woman is and the difference between a woman and a trans woman.’

A West Mercia Police spokesman said: ‘The incident was logged as a non-crime hate incident (NCHI) as the content of the post was perceived by the person who reported it to be hostile towards the transgender community. This caused the person who reported it concern.’

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