Government disbands LGBT+ panel of advisers

Liz Truss thanked ex-members for ‘contributions’

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
@ashcowburn
Tuesday 13 April 2021 15:34
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Today's daily politics briefing

The government’s LGBT+ panel of independent advisers has been disbanded by ministers, with plans for a replacement to be set out in “due course”.

It comes after three members of the body quit in protest earlier this year, criticising the government’s delay at introducing a ban on conversion therapy in Britain — three years after it was promised by Theresa May’s administration.

According to the BBC, members on the panel, whose two-year terms had come to an end in March, said they were willing to continue carrying out their duties, but were not clear if the panel still existed.

However, in a statement, a government equality hub spokesperson said Liz Truss, the women and equalities minister, had written to the members to thank them for their “contributions”, adding: “Plans for a replacement for the panel will be set out in due course”.

The 12-strong panel – set up by former prime minister Ms May – was created to act as a “sounding board” for ministers on policy decisions, publications and communications of government work relevant to the LGBT+ community.

It was expected to meet once every three months and comprised of expert organisations and the voluntary and charitable sector, but last month three members resigned after giving scathing assessments of the government’s work on LGBT+ issues.

Jayne Ozanne – the first to quit – accused ministers of creating a “hostile environment” for LGBT+ people in Britain for failing to bring forward legislation to ban the widely discredited practise of conversion therapy. 

Criticising both Ms Truss and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, she said: “They are known among the community as the ‘ministers of inequality’. I don’t believe that they understand LGBT people, particularly trans people.

“I’ve sat in meetings and I’ve been astonished about how ignorant they are on issues that affect the real lives, particularly of younger people”. 

James Morton, another adviser who resigned, said there had been no “genuine engagement” with the panel over the last 12 months, adding: “I’ve been increasingly concerned about the direction of travel around trans rights.”

After criticism mounted, Boris Johnson, who last summer vowed to ban conversion therapy, described the practise of attempting to change or suppress an individual’s sexuality as “repulsive” and “abhorrent” when quizzed just last month on the issue.

“It is technically complex to deal with but we’re determined to take further steps to stamp it out,” he added

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