Ex-equalities minister Penny Mordaunt hints at long-awaited results of gender recognition consultation at PinkNews Awards
Former equalities minister Penny Mordaunt has hinted at the results of the still-unpublished consultation on gender recognition reform in a speech at the PinkNews Awards.
The Conservative MP, who served as equalities minister from April 2018 to July 2019, was named the joint winner of the Politician of the Year Award alongside Labour’s Jess Phillips at the annual event in Westminster on Wednesday.
In government, Mordaunt had overseen a consultation on reforms to the Gender Recognition Act and rolled out an LGBT+ rights action plan that included pledges to outlaw gay ‘cure’ therapy and safeguard inclusive relationships and sex education.
In her speech, she responded to reports that her successors have kicked gender recognition reforms into the long grass, with the results of the consultation still unpublished nearly a year after its conclusion.
Penny Mordaunt: I have seen the results of the GRA consultation and people are open-minded.
Referencing strong criticism of the government from speakers including Labour’s Dawn Butler, she said: “In parliament, we change laws when we know reform is needed, rather than wait until a court tells us it must be so.
“Because of some of the things that have been said tonight, I just want to adopt my role as chief morale officer, and say a few things I hope will provide you with some comfort.
“One of the privileges of doing this job is you learn many things, and one of the things I have learned as a minister at the Government Equalities Office, including seeing through the GRA consultation, is that above all else, the great British public are collectively very good people indeed.”
She continued: “They care about each other, they care about you, they care about us, and they want people in this country to thrive.
“They want people to be able to love and be loved. They want people to be able to live their lives to the full. They are kind. They are pragmatic. They are thoroughly sensible individuals.
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“I speak as someone who has the advantage over you, in that I have seen the results of the GRA consultation.
Penny Mordaunt tells successors to ‘follow the evidence’.
“My advice to politicians is twofold: to those of us in the room [tonight], we need to work together more. We need to support each other more.
“Whatever our political differences, whatever party we represent, because our country needs us to.”
She added: “To those politicians not in the room tonight, including my successors, I would say, if you feel after you’ve listened, after following the evidence, after empathising, that to do the right thing you need to be brave: If you are brave, what you will discover is there is no need to be.”
Labour’s Jess Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, was honoured for her vocal support for LGBT-inclusive education in the city’s schools, after they drew protests.
Philips called for the implementation of an “exclusion area” to protect the children attending the school from the protests, which still stands despite protesters’ repeated attempts to have it struck down.
This is the seventh annual PinkNews Awards, sponsored by Amazon, and taking place at Church House, headquarters of the Church of England.