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Two more government advisers sensationally quit over Tories’ ‘hostile environment’ for LGBT+ people

Emma Powys Maurice March 11, 2021
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Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Two more top advisers have quit the government’s LGBT Advisory Panel, accusing Conservatives of creating a “hostile environment” for LGBT+ people.

Advisors James Morton and Ellen Murray followed Jayne Ozanne in stepping down from the panel late last night (10 March) amid mounting claims of government hostilities towards the LGBT+ community.

In a damning resignation letter to secretary of state Priti Patel, Morton expressed his deepening concern over the direction the Conservatives are taking on trans rights.

“Despite the harm and distress caused to trans people by the UK government’s mishandling of the potential Gender Recognition Act reform, I wanted to work constructively with you as part of the LGBT Advisory Panel to help progress modest improvements to LGBT+ people’s lives,” he said.

“However, the lack of engagement that you, minister Badenoch and the Government Equalities Office civil servants have had with us as a panel, coupled with the rhetoric used in ministerial statements, leaves me with no confidence that the UK government wishes to protect the existing quality of life and human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people”.

James Morton concluded: “The UK government does not seem, through words or actions, to have any desire to build a country in which trans people are among those free to live their lives.”

Ellen Murray has yet to offer a public statement but also accuses the government of “hostility” towards LGBT+ people.

A quarter of the 12-member LGBT Advisory Panel has now quit in protest, and ITV reports that several other panel members are also considering their positions.

The final catalyst was the government’s apparent reluctance to ban conversion therapy, highlighted in Monday’s (8 March) parliament debate, almost 1,000 days since the Tories pledged to “eradicate” the abhorrent practice as part of their LGBT+ Action Plan.

Secretary of state for equalities Kemi Badenoch was widely criticised for her “vague” speech, in which she gave no timeline, mentioned no specifics relating to potential legislation and repeatedly refused to use the word “ban”.

Ozanne, who handed in her resignation on Wednesday afternoon (10 March), said it was “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.

Hitting out at Badenoch, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, she revealed: “They are known among the community as the ‘ministers for inequality’.

“I don’t believe that they understand LGBT+ people, particularly transgender people. I’ve sat in meetings and I’ve been astonished about how ignorant they are on issues that affect the real lives, particularly of younger people.”

In response to Ozanne’s resignation, a government spokesperson said: “The government is committed to building a country in which everyone, no matter their sexuality, race or religion, is free to live their lives as they choose. We have repeatedly made clear that we will take action to end conversion therapy.”

It is noted that the statement chooses to use the word “end”, not “ban”.

PinkNews has reached out to Ellen Murray for comment.

Related topics: Boris Johnson, conservatives, conversion therapy, Jayne Ozanne, Kemi Badenoch, liz truss

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