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Gavin Williamson announced as Education Secretary

Emma Powys Maurice July 24, 2019
Gavin Williamson

The former Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has been given a top role in Johnson's new cabinet (Military Times)

The former Defence Secretary and Chief Whip Gavin Williamson has been announced as Education Secretary in Boris Johnson’s new cabinet, 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.

While Hinds was Education Secretary he was frequently called to respond to parents who objected to the ‘No Outsiders’ teaching programme. He said that protests outside the Birmingham primary schools “have to stop.”

Protestors outside the Birmingham school at the centre of the LGBT teaching row (Huffpost)

“All children of all ages should know about relationships and should be respectful of other people’s relationships,” he said to ITV News.

Children at school may have two mothers or two fathers, Hinds said, which is “just a fact of life in modern Britain.”

But more than 70 MPs recently wrote a letter criticising Hinds for not giving clearer support to schools on this matter.

As one of his first responsibilities in his new role, Williamson will likely be called to address “misinformation over the content” of the LGBT+ teaching, as well as “a belief that it is individual head teachers making choices to teach such content” for fuelling the disagreement.

Williamson’s LGBT+ rights record

Williamson has a mixed voting record on LGBT+ rights, voting against same-sex marriage twice, and once against same-sex marriage for members of the armed forces outside the UK.

But earlier this year he called on the government to change laws restricting same-sex marriage for military personnel “as a matter of urgency.”

And as Defence Secretary he chose to intervene on “the highest levels” to ensure that gay British troops in Brunei would not be affected by the state’s draconian anti-gay laws.

 

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