A Norfolk MP who backed a national campaign led by one of the region’s top anglers has welcomed a decision to ban transgender athletes from competing in the women’s sport.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker first raised the issue in parliament in July in support of one of his constituents, Wendy Metcalfe - who is a leading voice in the sport.

It comes after the England ladies’ team refused to compete at this year’s Shore Angling World Championships because of the Anglian Trust’s decision to include Becky Lee Birthwhistle Hodges, who was born a man, in the women’s squad.

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They claim male-born competitors like Miss Hodges – a former men’s rugby player – have an unfair physical advantage, being able to cast twice as far as biological female anglers.

Now, the sport’s international governing body, CIPS, has banned trans anglers from competing with immediate effect.

North Norfolk News: North Norfolk MP Duncan BakerNorth Norfolk MP Duncan Baker (Image: Newsquest)

“It was completely unfair for women anglers - who had trained hard all their careers - to have transgender women come into their team who have a clear physical advantage in casting and upper body strength and were effectively competing on a totally unfair basis,” Mr Baker said.

“I’m proud of Wendy and, as the MP for North Norfolk, I will always stick up for women’s rights.”

CIPS concluded that it is “absolutely discriminatory” for trans athletes to compete in a sport where “physical strength can make a difference”.

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Miss Metcalfe, from Holt, who previously competed for the England team, started a petition calling for the ban, which received more than 1,600 signatures.

She recently raised the issue in an interview with Piers Morgan and received the backing of Baroness Emma Nicholson.

North Norfolk News: Women's angling campaigner Wendy Metcalfe, from HoltWomen's angling campaigner Wendy Metcalfe, from Holt (Image: Supplied)

“It’s been a long haul, but now the decision has been made by SIPA the Anglian Trust well have to follow suit,” Miss Metcalfe said.

“It levels the playing field and brings it back to the way it should be. That’s why there are men’s and women’s teams because there is a significant difference in upper body strength.

“It means a lot because we’ve got young girls coming through who are good anglers and now in the future they’ve got something to look forward to as they will be able to compete against other ladies.”