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Former Tory Chairman attacks Stonewall, charities and businesses who refuse to join Dorchester boycott

Joseph McCormick May 17, 2014
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Lord Deben, who served as Conservative Party Chairman and Agriculture minister under Margaret Thatcher, has criticised Stonewall, and other charities and businesses refusing to join the boycott of s hotel chain owned by the Brunei Government.

Last month, the Sultan of Brunei gave approval to Brunei’s new penal code, which urges death by stoning for same-sex sexual activity.

On Friday, Ruth Hunt, acting chief executive of gay rights charity Stonewall said the campaign against The Dorchester Collection will only harm Brunei’s LGBT community.

The Dorchester on Park Lane in London is part of the collection.

Yesterday, the British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) announced it will not stage its awards dinner at The Dorchester Hotel.

Lord Deben, better known as John Gummer before his 2010 peerage, praised the decision.

Speaking to PinkNews, he said: “For me the issue is simple. The Dorchester is owned by a man who personally decided that, in his country, gay people and women found guilty of adultery would be stoned to death.

“In Britain no decent person should wish to eat at his table, stay in his hotel, or put money in his pocket. It would be insulting to clients and associates if companies, charities and other organisations were to schedule events at the Dorchester after the Sultan’s decision.

“There are plenty of other hotels in London and we should all choose to go elsewhere. The Dorchester has lost its moral license to trade in a civilised society.”

The charity is under increasing pressure to sever its links with the company and join an international boycott of The Dorchester Collection.

A separate Stonewall event was held a day after the country made death by stoning the punishment for same-sex sexual activity.

However, writing for Telegraph.co.uk on Friday, Stonewall Acting Chief Executive Ruth Hunt said a boycott would be the wrong thing to do.

“We only implement actions that we can calculate will have an impact”.

She added: “The boycott could do very real harm to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people of Brunei.”

In response, Lord Deben also tweeted his dismay at Ms Hunt’s position.

Related topics: boycott, Dorchester, Dorchester Collection, lord deben, protest, Ruth Hunt, Stonewall

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