Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Europe

Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss rebuffed after seeking LGBT endorsement

LONDON — Liz Truss, currently the frontrunner to succeed Boris Johnson as British prime minister, bungled an attempt to gain an endorsement for her record on gay rights. 

A representative of her campaign contacted the official LGBT+ Conservatives membership organization about cooperating on an endorsement for Truss and her record on LGBT rights during her time as an MP, a party member familiar with the matter said.

Truss’s campaign staff said they wanted to publish a piece by Dehenna Davison, a rising star of the Conservative Party who is openly bisexual, with the support of LGBT+ Conservatives.

However, Davison had not been consulted in advance, according to the person, and the approach by Truss’s team was rejected, partly because as an affiliated membership group LGBT+ Conservatives cannot back one candidate over another.

A spokesperson for LGBT+ Conservatives confirmed this account and said they had followed Conservative Party guidelines by reporting the incident in writing to the party chairman. 

They added: “As an affiliated group, LGBT+ Conservatives is neutral and does not endorse any candidates. We hope the elections produce some positive dialogue and policies for the LGBT+ community.”

A Truss campaign official disputed this, saying: “LGBT+ Conservatives were offered a call with Dehenna Davison to hear why she is backing Liz — they declined. This offer to them remains open.”

Truss is seeking to speak to as many Conservative Party members as possible over the next five weeks, including setting up calls between members’ organizations and supportive MPs.

Three party activists said the attempted overture was particularly misguided in view of many LGBT members’ unhappiness over her stance on transgender rights, which she has raised repeatedly in order to put forward the view that trans women are not women.

At a hustings event Monday, she told the audience: “I know a woman is a woman — that’s become a controversial statement in some parts of Britain today.”

Trans rights has become a fierce battleground in Britain’s so-called culture wars. 

Truss’s phrasing aligns her with the “gender critical” movement in the U.K., which argues that sex is biological and should not be conflated with gender identity. Gender critical campaigners tend to the view that trans women should be excluded or restricted in women-only spaces.

Younger party members who fear the issue is being weaponized have privately shared concerns over Truss’s views.

“I just don’t trust her with my rights, and I’m not sure many of the sensible LGBT members would either,” said one member. “She’s been equalities minister for nearly three years and I cannot point to one thing that she’s done for minorities.”

Another member said the move appeared to be driven by a bad day for the campaign, with widespread negative coverage of a pledge by Truss to reduce civil servants’ pay outside London. “They are flapping,” the member said.

However, an ally of Truss said she was a “friend” to minorities and pointed to her voting record, which included supporting legislation for equal marriage.

Davison’s office declined to comment.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like

Europe

The UK economy contracted in the three months to June, declining 0.1 percent on the quarter as raging inflation took its toll on activity,...

Europe

Press play to listen to this article LONDON — It’s a long-held maxim in British politics that divided parties do not win elections. And so...

Europe

Svitlana Zalishchuk is a former member of the Ukrainian Parliament (2014 to 201)9 and former foreign policy adviser to the prime minister of Ukraine....

Energy

Press play to listen to this article Climate change is turning up the heat on Europe’s growing list of crises.  With another heat wave...

Europe

Jamie Dettmer is opinion editor at POLITICO Europe.  In 1976, the dissident Russian writer Vladimir Bukovsky arrived in London. His opposition to the Communists...

Foreign Policy

A group of Western allies including many EU countries and the U.K. pledged more funding to help boost Ukraine’s defense capabilities Thursday, reaching €1.5...

Europe

Press play to listen to this article ROME — Italy’s right-wing parties are poised to abandon anti-EU politics, according to a leaked blueprint for...

Europe

In a major blow to China’s diplomatic efforts in Europe, Estonia and Latvia on Thursday quit China’s exclusive club for engaging with Central and...