Governments LGBT advisory panel disbanded
The Government’s LGBT advisory panel has been disbanded, Downing Street confirmed.
The panel, established by Theresa May’s government, will be replaced with a new body, No 10 indicated.
Panellists’ terms were due to expire on March 31 but a series of members had resigned earlier in protest at Government policies.
The terms of the remaining panellists have not been renewed and details of a replacement will be set out “in due course”.
The move led to accusations that the Government was failing to rebuild trust with LGBT communities.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said women and equalities minister Liz Truss had written to the remaining panel members to thank them for their service.
“The Prime Minister is immensely proud to live in a country that is one of the most progressive and liberal when it comes to LGBT equality,” the spokesman said.
“The LGBT advisory panel was created under the previous administration and the term of all panel members was always due to end on the 31st.
“The minister for women and equalities has written to all panel members to thank them for their contributions and plans for a replacement to the panel will be set out in due course.”
Downing Street rejected the assertion that not extending the term of the current panel until a replacement is introduced suggested the Government was not interested in issues affecting LGBT people.
“I don’t think that’s fair,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman told reporters.
“The Government is committed to building a country in which everyone, no matter their sexuality, is free to live as they choose.
“We are committed to this important work and will continue to drive it forward.”
Asked what was wrong with the group’s work, the spokesman said: “The panel had a term of duration which it was due to run, that term came to an end. That doesn’t necessarily signify any issue with it.”
In March, panel member Jayne Ozanne quit, citing delays to a ban on so-called “conversion therapy” among her many complaints.
She was followed by James Morton, who had reportedly been “very concerned for several months” that Ms Truss and her junior ministers were “not committed to LGBT equality”.
Ellen Murray became the third person to quit the panel, writing on Twitter that she decided to leave “due to the Government’s persistent and worsening hostility towards our community in myriad areas”.
Ms Ozanne said disbanding the panel “does nothing to rebuild trust” or reassure the LGBT community about their “grave concerns”.
Liberal Democrat equalities spokeswoman Wera Hobhouse said: “Scrapping this advisory panel is a backwards step at a time when we badly need progress from the Government.
“The Tories are still dragging their feet on banning conversion therapy, and failing to tackle the rise in anti-LGBT hate crimes.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub