A new 50-page progressive manifesto makes no mention of LGBT+ rights.
Independent Group spokesperson Chuka Umunna has revealed a new progressive manifesto via the Progressive Centre, a think tank where he holds the role of chair of the advisory board.
The document, published on Friday (March 8), is meant to illustrate the policy priorities of a progressive political force—such as, presumably, Umunna’s Independent Group.
“Politics in Britain is fundamentally broken, but what are the principles and potential policy ideas that progressives could use to change it? I’ve set out my ideas in the ‘What are Progressives for?’ pamphlet” Umunna tweeted introducing the progressive manifesto.
The document says nothing about LGBT+ rights, or even more generally issues related to social equality for minority groups.
There is one mention of the word “minorities,” which are not more specifically defined, in the sentence: “There must also be protections for minorities and curbs on concentrations of power.”
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“Minority groups” also receive one mention in the progressive manifesto, in the context of big data: “Strict rules should be developed to stop big data and algorithms from being used to discriminate against minority groups and to expand the use of big data beyond the pursuit of profit to the wider public good.”
The progressive manifesto sets out its agenda over five areas: “economy, society, technology, overhauling our democracy, international engagement.”
Under the society section, Umunna identifies four key policy areas: NHS and social care, early years care and education, housing and immigration. None of these points mention LGBT rights, not even int he context of education despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the LGBT-inclusive lessons at a Birmingham school—the manifesto focuses instead on the provision of childcare.
Progressive manifesto is only “broad outline”
Umunna’s spokesperson points PinkNews to one part of the document dedicated to “family and community,” which mentions “family life, in all its forms” as the “building block of every community.”
The spokesperson also disagrees with the characterisation of the document as a manifesto, identifying it rather as a “broad outline of the principles and ideas that Chuka believes progressives can start from and use to differentiate themselves from what is on offer by the main political parties.”
He however recognises that there is more to be said on the progressive stance on equality, which promises to include LGBT+ rights.
PinkNews is also told that, on the issue of LGBT-inclusive education, Umunna believes that there can be “no excuses for removing LGBT issues and education from the curriculum regardless of the level of pressure from any group” and that “education must be inclusive and celebrate diversity, which helps to tackle discrimination and foster integrated communities.”
Before becoming part of the eight Labour MPs who left the party in February to create the Independent Group—who were then joined by three Conservative MPs—Umunna expressed support for LGBT+ rights, once rebuffing Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith’s defence of Tory right-winger Jacob Rees-Mogg’s anti-gay marriage views,
Umunna said of the anti-marriage equality stance: “In this day and age, in modern Britain, doesn’t it sound a bit out of touch and disconnected from modern Britain?”