UK

Nadhim Zahawi sparks Section 28 fears as he vows to ‘protect children from inappropriate nonsense’

Josh Milton July 10, 2022
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Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi leaves 10 Downing Street

Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi is to launched his leadership bid. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Nadhim Zahawi sparked fears of a second Section 28 ahead of his official announcement to become the next Tory leader.

The former education secretary-turned chancellor is hoping to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister, bringing his enormous wealth as a multi-millionaire and experience handling the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out into the race.

But in seeking to win over the 100,000 Conservative Party members who will vote for the next leader, Zahawi will flex his culture war muscles when he officially launches his campaign Monday (11 July).

He will say: “I will also continue to focus on letting children be children, protecting them from damaging and inappropriate nonsense being forced on them by radical activists.”

LGBTQ+ Twitter users scrambled to raise the alarm at the cabinet minister’s remarks, with many comparing his pledge to Section 28.

At a time when the AIDS epidemic had seized Britain, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government in 1988 introduced Section 28, banning teaching that “promoted homosexuality” and the “acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

More than three decades later, Britain has backslid when it comes to LGBTQ+ equality. ILGA-Europe’s continental ranking of LGBTQ+ rights ranked Britain at 14th, having fallen four places in a single year.

So LGBTQ+ users had their reasons to be on edge.

Zahawi’s leadership speech, an extract of which was published in The Spectator Saturday night, came only hours after London Trans+ Pride came to an end.

Thousands of trans folk and allies poured into the streets of the capital as countless called on the government to stop taking aim at trans people.

After all, in his capacity as education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi suggested in April that teachers should out trans students to their parents and guardians.

He said the Department for Education is developing guidance alongside equalities watchdog the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on how to “deal” with trans young people.

Zahawi said the guidelines will “safeguard” children with a focus on parents as well as single-sex spaces, such as toilets and changing rooms.

PinkNews contacted Nadhim Zahawi for comment.

More: 2022 Conservative Party leadership election, Nadhim Zahawi

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