CAROLINE Lucas has defended her decision after she announced she would meet with a group widely seen as transphobic.

The Green MP for Brighton Pavillion tweeted on Sunday that she had contacted the controversial Woman’s Place UK group and would meet them next week.

The announcement of her meeting prompted outrage from many Green supporters who felt that the party’s only MP should not be meeting with a fringe group thought by many to have unacceptable views.

One member of the party, who is also trans, revealed that she had asked to cancel her membership because of the incident.

The ex-member, who asked not to be named, said: “I cancelled my membership because I just don’t think our co-leader should be meeting with a group who campaign so hard against trans rights.

“Our existence is not up for debate, but to insist on hearing this group’s supposed side of the story, it suggests that it very much is.”

She also revealed that after requesting to cancel her membership, the Green Party had used her pre-transition name in their response.

Florence Scott, another member, said: “This is not my Green Party.”

Woman’s Place UK is a group which campaigns against trans women’s rights to access women-only services, and oppose proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act which would make it easier for trans people to legally change their assigned gender.

However, defending her decision, Ms Lucas said: “Having met with a number of constituents who share the views expressed by A Woman’s Place UK, I think it would be useful to meet the group with a view to listening and trying to understand their perspective.

“I’m deeply concerned that many women, including trans women, feel frightened and worried about their safety.

“I think I have a responsibility to try to find a way to help.

If that means listening to all sides in the debate, even where I don’t agree.

“I remain committed to Green Party policy and to upholding the current laws protecting trans people.”

Ms Lucas recently wrote an article in The Guardian calling for a “constructive, respectful debate around gender”.

This comes as former deputy leader Shahrar Ali also attracted criticism after asking for an investigation into the suspension of a Green Party member from Sheffield who alleged that allowing children to transition into their preferred gender was child abuse.

On a national level the party is also still dealing with the David Challenor scandal, where a member and father of a candidate in the party’s deputy leadership elections was found guilty of torturing and raping a ten-year-old child.