Boris Johnson is being urged to kickstart his premiership by apologising for the incendiary remarks he’s previously made about the LGBT community.
Johnson beat rival Jeremy Hunt in the ballot of more than 159,000 Tory members, the result of which was announced today, and will officially become PM tomorrow (Wednesday 24 July).
Johnson has a poor track record when it comes to comments made about the LGBT community.
In 1998, in a Telegraph column about Peter Mandelson's resignation from the Labour government, he wrote that the announcement would lead to the blubbing of “tank-topped bumboys” in “the Ministry of Sound” nightclub, and “the soft-lit Soho drinking clubs frequented by Mandy and his pals”.
Then, in the year 2000, writing in the Spectator, he slammed “Labour's appalling agenda, encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools, and all the rest of it”.
A year later, in his book, Friends, Voters, Countrymen, he wrote on the subject of gay marriage: “If gay marriage was OK - and I was uncertain on the issue - then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog.”
Speaking to PinkNews after today’s announcement of Johnson’s victory, the chairman of LGBT+ Conservatives, Colm Howard-Lloyd, said: “As a journalist he used some distinctly hurtful and unhelpful language, and that has dented the confidence of many in the LGBT community. I expect him to address that at an early opportunity.”
He added: “As mayor, Boris funded Pride and banned anti-gay tube ads. In parliament he backed same-sex marriage, and as foreign secretary encouraged UK embassies to fly the rainbow flag, and had robust discussions with Commonwealth colleagues on progress needed.”
Veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “Boris Johnson has a mixed voting record on LGBT+ equality. He’s sometimes been supportive and other times he’s abstained. His past insulting utterances count against him… there is no indication that he has any commitment to remedying the remaining injustices faced by LGBT+ people.”
Speaking during his leadership campaign, Johnson said on the issue of LGBT+ equality: “If I am lucky enough to be elected Conservative leader, I pledge that my administration will not consider this issue as ‘job done’.
“I will continue to champion LGBT+ equality, get tough on hate crime and ensure that we break down barriers to a fairer society.”
Johnson also promised to ‘ensure trans rights are protected’.
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