Blair tight-lipped over Liberia's anti-gay laws
During his time as prime minister, Tony Blair championed equal rights for gay people and introduced a host of laws to improve equal rights. But the former Labour leader may face some difficult questions after the release of a joint video interview in which he refused to respond to comments by the Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in support of her country's repressive laws targeting gay people.
Homosexual acts are punishable by one year in jail under Liberia's sodomy laws, and proposals have been put forward to make it a felony for same-sex couples to be in a relationship, which would carry a 10-year sentence.
Sitting alongside Mr Blair in a joint interview, Nobel peace prize-winner President Sirleaf was questioned about the laws. "We like ourselves just the way we are. We've got certain traditional values that we would like to preserve," she told the Guardian. Mr Blair, who was visiting the country in his capacity as the founder of the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), a charity that aims to strengthen African governments, remained silent.
When asked by the interviewer about President Sirleaf's remarks, and about Liberia's laws in general, Mr Blair said: "I'm not giving you an answer on it. One of the advantages of doing what I do now is I can choose the issues I get into and the issues I don't. For us, the priorities are around power, roads, jobs delivery." He added that wanted to "restrict" his comments to the issues he is working on in Liberia.
Mr Blair's silence might come as a shock to gay rights activists in the UK, given his record. His government was responsible for introducing civil partnerships, reducing the age of consent for gay couples to 16, and removing a ban on gay people in the military.
His efforts to improve gay rights were roundly praised by campaigners upon leaving office.
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...