Government disbands LGBT+ panel after three advisers quit over 'hostility'

Chair quit last month saying ministers had created "hostile environment" for LGBT+ people
Equalities minister Liz Truss thanked the LGBT+ panel members for their "constructive input". Photo: joshua bratt/Alamy Stock Photo

Equalities minister Liz Truss has disbanded the government’s LGBT+ advisory panel after three of its members quit saying ministers were ignoring its advice and creating a culture of hostility towards LGBT+ people.

Truss has written to the remaining members of the panel thanking them for their "constructive input" and saying a replacement will be announced soon.

The panel’s chair and the government's leading equality adviser, Jayne Ozanne, announced she was stepping down from the role a month ago, saying the government had created a "hostile environment" for LGBT+ people.

She said at the time that ministers had ignored the panel's advice and that she had been “astonished” at the “ignorance” of equalities ministers Truss and Kemi Badenoch, who she said were “known among the community as the ministers for inequality”

Two further advisers stood down days later: James Morton, who accused ministers of a "lack of engagement" with the panel, and Ellen Murray, who said she decided to leave "due to the government's persistent and worsening hostility towards our community in myriad areas".

It is understood that the panel has not formally met senior officials since last year, although there has been some informal communication.

In her letter to panel members, Truss said: "I will also be shortly making an announcement concerning the International LGBT Conference and convening a new body that will take international LGBT rights forward,” she wrote.

She added that the government would be “pressing ahead” with its commitment to ban conversion therapy and that she looked “forward to announcing these measures shortly”.

A government spokesperson noted that the panel was “created under the previous administration” and that all of its members’ terms ended on 31 March.

However, some of the panel members told the BBC they would be willing to stay on after their terms ended.

The spokesperson said a replacement for the panel “will be set out in due course”.

Ozanne said the decision was “yet more proof Liz Truss and Kemi Badenoch are creating a hostile environment for LGBT people”.

She had previously said disbanding the group would do “nothing to rebuild trust or reassure [the] LGBT community of their grave concerns”.

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