Truss and Badenoch criticised as three LGBT advisers quit Government posts

Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor
·4-min read

Equalities ministers Liz Truss and Kemi Badenoch have been accused of vilifying the trans community by one of three of the Government’s LGBT advisers to quit their posts.

Jayne Ozanne resigned from the LGBT advisory panel on Wednesday blaming Boris Johnson’s administration for creating a “hostile environment” for LGBT people.

She was followed by James Morton who had reportedly been “very concerned for several months” that Ms Truss and her junior ministers are “not committed to LGBT equality”.

Ellen Murray became the third to quit the panel – writing on Twitter that she decided to leave “due to the Government’s persistent and worsening hostility towards our community in myriad areas”.

She said: “From conversion therapy to trans healthcare to the shameful treatment of LGBT refugees, the govt has acted in appalling faith.”

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Ms Ozanne, who describes herself as a gay evangelical Christian, said that Government pledges to take action to end the controversial practice of conversion therapy only referred to sexuality and not gender identity.

“Sadly there has been never any mention of protecting our trans friends who are twice as likely to be offered and to be forced to go through conversion therapy,” she said, speaking on Good Morning Britain.

“I fear it’s this Government’s attitude to the trans community that is right at the heart of this.

“They need to embrace the trans community and protect them rather than vilify them which, I’m afraid, both Liz Truss and Kemi (Badenoch) seem committed to doing.”

In an earlier interview with ITV she said Ms Truss and Ms Badenoch were known in the LGBT community as the “ministers for inequality”.

And she said she had become “increasingly concerned about what is seen to be a hostile environment for LGBT people among this administration”.

Mr Morton said he had been “very concerned for several months that Liz Truss and her junior ministers are not committed to LGBT equality”, the BBC reported.

“It doesn’t appear that they’re doing anything useful or helpful for trans people, in terms of Government policy,” he added.

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Conservative MP Caroline Nokes, who chairs the Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee, said she was “disappointed” the Government was “rowing back” on legislation to ban conversion therapy.

She wrote on Twitter: “Listening to @JayneOzanne on @GMB this morning about her experience of so-called conversion therapy.

“I am so disappointed that Government rowing back from legislating to ban it, last July we were given the impression it would be done.”

The resignations came as a group of nearly 20 LGBT+ organisations have reportedly written to Ms Badenoch to express their “deep concern” at her response to calls to ban conversion therapy.

Signatories to the letter – co-ordinated by Ms Ozanne and including campaigner Peter Tatchell and the organisation Stonewall – accused the minister of inaction after the Conservative Party’s pledge in 2018 to eradicate the controversial therapy.

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They said they “fail to understand why – after nearly 1,000 days – coming forward with meaningful legislation is taking so much time”.

The BBC reported that the signatories also wrote that they were “extremely troubled” after the minister made no mention during the debate of protection for trans people, despite this group being “the most likely to be at risk”.

Downing Street said the Government has been “clear that conversion therapy is wrong and we are committed to ending these vile practices for good”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing that the Government would continue to consider all legislative and non-legislative options.

A Government spokesman said on Wednesday: “The Government is committed to building a country in which everyone, no matter their sexuality, race or religion, is free to live their lives as they choose.

“We have repeatedly made clear that we will take action to end conversion therapy and we are working to bring forward plans to do so shortly.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told Mr Johnson to fix the “blind spot” on LGBT issues.

He said: “The Government has clearly got a blind spot here. It’s got a problem and the Prime Minister needs to address it, not least because it’s a pattern of behaviour.”

Sir Keir said he would “absolutely” ban conversion therapy by law, adding: “It’s abhorrent and we’re 100% against it.”