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UK

Boris Johnson cabinet ‘most anti-human rights’ in decades, Labour says

Emma Powys Maurice July 24, 2019

New Prime Minister Boris Johnson greeting crowds outside 10 Downing Street (The National)

The new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has begun naming the members of his cabinet, without a single LGBT+ person holding a senior role at the time of publication.

Having succeeded Theresa May as Conservative Party leader, Johnson started forming his new government in what is the biggest ever clear-out of cabinet without a change of party in power.

The Labour campaign for Human Rights has described it as “the most anti-human rights” cabinet in decades, while the SNP has labelled it the “‘worst government since Thatcher.”

Priti Patel makes comeback

Priti Patel has been given Sajid Javid’s former post of Home Secretary. Her voting record indicates that she has generally voted against LGBT+ rights.

Often citing Margaret Thatcher as a personal hero, Patel voted against equal marriage in 2013 and was absent from the vote to extend same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland on July 9.

The appointment marks a surprise return to the front benches for Patel, who resigned as UK international development secretary in 2017 after taking unauthorised meetings with Israeli officials during a private holiday.

Priti Patel
Priti Patel leaving Downing Street as the new Home Secretary (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Patel admitted in her resignation letter that her actions “fell below the high standards that are expected of a secretary of state,” and “below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated.”

Prior to this she played a prominent part in the Vote Leave campaign.

Dominic Raab is foreign secretary

Dominic Raab has been appointed foreign secretary, replacing prime ministerial candidate Jeremy Hunt. He has also been named First Secretary of State, a title sometimes given by the Prime Minister.

Raab was previously Brexit secretary for four months before resigning in November 2018 over the Withdrawal Agreement he helped shape.

Raab
Dominic Raab arrives at 10 Downing Street (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

In May, during his own short-lived attempt to become the next Tory leader, Raab said that he wanted a society which is “tolerant and warm” to the LGBT+ community, but not one which allows transgender children to transition easily.

“I certainly don’t think I want to make it easier [for a young person to transition],” he told the Independent. “I think you need to be very careful with people of that age.”

Like many of his colleagues, Raab was absent for the recent vote on marriage equality in Northern Ireland. He did, however, vote in favour of same-sex marriage in 2013.

Sajid Javid promoted to Chancellor of the Exchequer

Sajid Javid’s appointment to Chancellor of the Exchequer alongside Priti Patel as Home Secretary marks the first time two of the four great offices of state have been held by people of colour.

Javid replaces Phillip Hammond as Chancellor of the Exchequer, after Hammond resigned in protest at Johnson’s pledge to leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal.

Javid said he was “deeply honoured” to be given the role and was looking forward to the “incredible opportunities that lie ahead.”


Javid’s voting record shows he is a strong supporter of LGBT+ rights. In his former role as Home Secretary, he vowed to rid the country of anti-LGBT+ abuse “once and for all.”

Javid has attended five PinkNews events in recent years, more than any other minister.

Speaking at the PinkNews Awards in 2018, he said that reforms to the Gender Recognition Act would be an “historic moment.” These reforms were expected to be announced earlier this year, but now appear to have been delayed.

Sajid Javid at the PinkNews Awards 2018 (Paul Grace)

Javid voted in favour of equal marriage in 2013, but was absent for the vote on July 9 to extend the same rights to Northern Ireland (as were most of the former cabinet).

Nicky Morgan to lead on Culture

The remain-supporting Nicky Morgan has been appointed as the new Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the cabinet reshuffle. She tweeted that it was an “enormous privilege to take on this fabulous role.”


Although the former Education Secretary has a mixed voting record on LGBT+ rights, she has since apologised for her previously-held views against same-sex marriage after lobbying from her constituents.

In May this year she wrote for PinkNews about her efforts to close a legal loophole that could force transgender people to publicly disclose information about their transitions against their will.

Gavin Williamson to tackle LGBT+ lessons debate

The former Defence Secretary and Chief Whip Gavin Williamson has been announced as Education Secretary, replacing Damian Hinds.

Hinds had been in the position since January 2018. As the new Education Secretary, Williamson is expected to take Hinds’ role in managing the ongoing debate surrounding LGBT-inclusive education in schools.

The UK’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, steps out in front of 10 Downing Street (Getty)

Boris Johnson: “The time has come to act”

Johnson was elected Conservative party leader by 66 percent of the Conservative membership, a figure which equates to 0.14 percent of the British population.

Some 92,153 backed Johnson, almost double the number who voted for his opponent Jeremy Hunt.

Speaking outside of No. 10, the former foreign secretary vowed to “serve the people” by taking Britain out of the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.

“The British people have had enough. The time has come to act,” he said. “Never mind the backstop, the buck stops here.”

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson delivers his first speech as Prime Minister (AFP/Getty Images)

LGBT+ rights referenced in inaugural speech

In his first speech as Prime Minister, Johnson briefly mentioned LGBT+ rights, saying that the UK’s values of equality makes the country “admired and even loved around the world.”

He said: “He said: “[Our] brand and political personality is admired and even loved around the world… for the equalities on which we insist, whether race or gender, or LGBT, or the right of every girl in the world for 12 years of quality education.”

But his declaration of support contradicts his earlier comments in which he called gay people “tank-topped bum boys” and attacked “Labour’s appalling agenda, encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools.”

More: Boris Johnson, Prime Minister

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