As the first Muslim to serve on a parliamentary frontbench, Baroness Falkner of Margravine is no stranger to the rough and tumble of party politics.

But nothing prepared the lifelong Lib Dem, who was born and brought up in Pakistan, for the outpouring of racist and misogynistic abuse when she had the temerity to enter the highly charged arena of trans rights.

Falkner, 68, the head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), argued last month that the Equality Act should be updated to ensure the protected characteristic of ‘sex’ was taken to mean ‘biological sex’.

In a 19-page letter to Kemi Badenoch, the equalities minister, Falkner also recommended that the Act be amended to introduce explicit legal protections for biological women in same-sex spaces, such as changing rooms and hospital wards, and to exclude trans women from female sports.

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