Foreign Office is still paying Stonewall thousands of pounds

Foreign Office is still paying Stonewall thousands of pounds months after Liz Truss urged ministries to pull out of diversity scheme

  • Foreign Office confirmed it is still a member of LGBT+ charity programme
  • Critics say it advises members to rewrite their policies to reflect charity’s
  • Liz Truss told officials she believed government departments should withdraw
  • Two months after becoming Foreign Secretary, she has not made the change 
  • Liz Truss‘s department is still paying Stonewall to belong to its diversity scheme – months after she urged ministries to pull out.

    The Foreign Office confirmed it remains a member of the LGBT+ charity’s ‘diversity champions programme’, which costs thousands of pounds a year.

    Hundreds of companies and public bodies have joined the scheme to receive advice on how to create an inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff.

    But critics say it advises members to rewrite their policies to reflect the charity’s agenda on trans rights.

    Earlier this year Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, then International Trade Secretary, told officials she believed government departments should withdraw from the scheme as it did not provide value for money

    Earlier this year Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, then International Trade Secretary, told officials she believed government departments should withdraw from the scheme as it did not provide value for money

    Earlier this year Miss Truss, then International Trade Secretary, told officials she believed government departments should withdraw from the scheme as it did not provide value for money.

    But she has still not implemented the change at the Foreign Office – two months after becoming Foreign Secretary.

    Stonewall’s chief executive Nancy Kelley claimed in May that ‘gender critical’ beliefs – that a person’s biological sex cannot be changed – were akin to anti-Semitism.

    Despite this, she was invited to an event at the Foreign Office only last month.

    The Stonewall scheme counts more than 200 government departments and public bodies among its 900 members – earning the charity millions of pounds a year.

    It emerged over the weekend that 14 Whitehall bodies still have contracts with the organisation and have paid it at least £300,000 in the past five years. Figures released in parliamentary answers showed the Ministry of Defence was the biggest spender on £80,312.

    But a growing number of public bodies are pulling out, including the House of Commons, Ofcom and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. Last week the Department of Health and Social Care also said it was withdrawing.

    Members can be included on a list of employers known as the Workplace Equality Index.

    It has emerged that those who bring their policies in line with Stonewall’s position, including replacing words such as ‘mother’ with gender-neutral alternatives, are ranked higher.

    Stonewall chief executive Nancy Kelley claimed in May that ‘gender critical’ beliefs – that a person’s biological sex cannot be changed – were akin to anti-Semitism

    Stonewall chief executive Nancy Kelley claimed in May that ‘gender critical’ beliefs – that a person’s biological sex cannot be changed – were akin to anti-Semitism

    A spokesman for the Foreign Office yesterday confirmed it was still a part of Stonewall’s programme, but said the department ‘keeps our membership of all external schemes under review’.

    He added: ‘As co-chairman of the Equal Rights Coalition, the UK is working with Stonewall and two other civil society co-chairs to deliver on our collective ambition to ensure that all LGBT+ people can live their lives free from the discrimination and violence that persists today.’

    Kate Harris, co-founder of the LGB Alliance, which opposes Stonewall’s stance on trans rights, said that those taking part in the scheme are ‘taking a calculated risk’.

    She added: ‘Instead of helping employers avoid legal action, the Diversity Champions Scheme and Workplace Equality Index do the opposite.

    Any employer who continues to follow Stonewall’s version of the law, rather than the Equality Act itself, may be liable to court action by employees.’

    Comments are closed.