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MP who voted against same-sex marriage elected to be parliament’s new LGBT and equalities chief

Nick Duffy January 28, 2020
Tory MP Caroline Nokes is the Parliament's new equalities chief

Tory MP Caroline Nokes is the Parliament's new equalities chief (Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Tory MP Caroline Nokes, who voted against same-sex marriage, has been elected to oversee parliament’s scrutiny of LGBT+ and equalities issues.

The MP for Romsey and Southampton North was elected unopposed by MPs to replace staunch LGBT+ ally Maria Miller as chair of parliament’s women and equalities committee.

The committee, responsible for scrutinising the government’s equalities work, has previously published influential reports on transgender issues and LGBT+ healthcare.

Caroline Nokes ‘thrilled’ to be parliament’s new equalities chief.

Nokes was the only MP to put her name forward to chair the equalities committee after Miller stepped away from the role after December’s election.

The election was only open to Conservatives, due to the way parliament’s committees are split.

The MP tweeted: “Thrilled to have been elected unopposed as Chair of  @Commonswomequ a new challenge for this new Parliament.”

Her supporting statement did not reference LGBT+ issues, though it touched on disability, gender and race.

Caroline Nokes arrives at Downing Street on March 26, 2019 in London, England.
Caroline Nokes arrives at Downing Street on March 26, 2019 in London, England. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Nokes’ election was met with a mixed response online – with many highlighting that the MP voted against same-sex marriage in England and Wales in 2013, claiming there were “not adequate” protections for anti-LGBT+ faith groups.

One respondent wrote: “My former MP, and the first politician to ever lie directly to my face when she told me she’d be supporting same-sex marriage, then voted against it. Couldn’t think of a better equalities chair!”

Others urged Nokes to recommit to the committee’s work on gender recognition reform.

One respondent wrote: “First thing on the agenda? Get GRA reform done to make trans lives easier.”

Tory MP has backed away from anti-LGBT+ views.

Despite her previous vote, Nokes cast her vote in favour of extending equal marriage to Northern Ireland in 2019.

While serving as an immigration minister in 2019, Nokes promised a review of the treatment of LGBT+ asylum seekers.

She said: “In order to alleviate any concerns about the way in which vulnerable claims are dealt with, a review has been commissioned to investigate the way claims based on religious grounds and LGBT+ are assessed.

“The aim and approach of the review will be to ensure that empathy and religious literacy is considered by decision makers when assessing these highly complex claims, acknowledging the impact of their decision whilst ensuring appropriate rigour is applied as these routes can be open to fraudulent claims.”

More: Caroline Nokes, Conservative Party, parliament, same sex marriage, Women and Equalities Committee

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