Anti-LGBT Tory Dr Liam Fox returns to Cabinet to head international trade department
Dr Liam Fox has been appointed as head of a new department for international trade by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Mrs May, the former Home Secretary, became PM earlier today after David Cameron quit in wake of the EU referendum.
She has been reshuffling her top team in a bid to bring about unity among rival Conservative camps and prepare for Brexit negotiations.
As part of the reshuffle, former Defence Secretary and Tory leadership candidate Dr Liam Fox has been given the new role of Secretary of State for International Trade.
The politician – who stood for Conservative leader earlier this month but was the first person eliminated in the race – has one of the worst voting records on LGBT rights in the new Cabinet so far.
It is unclear how his role will cross over with that of new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, given Minister of State for Trade and Investment was previously a junior Foreign Office role.
However, Dr Fox’s record may spark concern – given the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development have both previously championed LGBT rights across their international diplomacy.
David Cameron said previously that the UK would “raise these issues with every country” when working on diplomatic relations or trade agreements.
Dr Fox has never voted in favour of any LGBT legislation during his time in Parliament.
The Member of Parliament voted strongly against same-sex marriage and gay adoption rights, while he was absent on votes on civil partnerships, the abolition of Section 28, gender recognition, an equal age of consent and the Equality Act.
Ahead of the vote on same-sex marriage in 2013, Fox claimed that the proposals were “absurd” and “divisive”.
The former minister said at the time gay marriage that “smacks of a form of social engineering of which Conservatives should be instinctively wary”.
He told a PinkNews reader at the time: “Proponents of same-sex marriage argue that any change is simply a matter of equal rights. I disagree with them.
“I believe that this argument fails to understand the full complexities of the social issues involved.
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“If this were simply an argument about righting a wrong, with no other consequences, it would not be creating so much division.”
He claimed at the time: “It proposes to change the definition of marriage for all, for the perceived benefit of a much smaller number.
“Unlike civil partnerships it is not even clear that there is much demand for the change. I have not heard any of the gay friends that I have clamour for same-sex marriage in the way that they demanded the right for civil partnerships.”
Dr Fox, the MP for North Somerset served as Secretary of State for Defence from 2010. He was forced to quit in 2011 over allegations about the nature of his relationship with close friend Adam Werritty.
The MP, who tied the knot with wife Jesme Baird in 2005, faced an investigation after reports that Mr Werritty had joined him on 19 official overseas trips, and allegations Mr Werritty had improper access to the Ministry of Defence. Fox denied wrongdoing but admitted “errors of judgement” in mixing his professional and personal loyalties.