Newly selected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the Conservative Leadership announcement at the QEII Centre on July 23, 2019 in London, England. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty)
LGBT+ campaigners have called on Boris Johnson to start his time as Prime Minister by finally issuing an apology for his history of anti-LGBT remarks.
As Johnson claimed victory in the Conservative leadership election, the LGBT+ Conservatives group joined calls for him to finally apologise for comments from the 1990s, referring to gay people as “tank-topped bum boys” and attacking “Labour’s appalling agenda, encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools.”
The new leader has also compared gay weddings to “three men and a dog.”
Boris Johnson ‘should start with an apology’
Colm Howard-Lloyd, Chairman of LGBT+ Conservatives, told PinkNews: “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.”
Peter Tatchell added: “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.”
Out journalist Owen Jones has also branded Johnson a “bigot” for his comments, telling Sky News: “One of the big faults in this whole [leadership election] is the lack of scrutiny of Boris Johnson.
“Why aren’t we asking, does he still think that gay people should be called bum boys? Does he still think that equal marriage should be compared to three men marrying a dog?”
During his leadership campaign, Johnson was challenged over the quotes on multiple occasions, but has declined to apologise.
He said: “If you’re going to excavate and disinter every single quotation from the millions of words I have written, you can of course try and twist things one way or another but I have a very proud record.”
LGBT+ Conservatives vow to ‘work with’ new PM
However, Howard-Lloyd remains optimistic about the potential for reforms under his leadership.
He said: “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.
“The four-year LGBT Action Plan has made significant progress, achieving a third of its actions in the first twelve months, but significant work remains. As recent Conservative Prime Ministers have shown, that only comes about through strong leadership from the top.
“During the Leadership race Boris made a number of commitments via LGBT+ Conservatives, and I look forward to working closely with the new Prime Minister and his team. We have work to do!”
Published at Tue, 23 Jul 2019 12:07:42 +0000