LGBT+ representation in government stalling under Boris Johnson, says first openly gay MP

‘Glass ceiling in cabinet has been broken over the years ... sadly at present they seem to want to put it back in again,’ says Lord Chris Smith

Efforts to ensure LGBT+ people are represented at the highest levels of government have stalled under Boris Johnson, according to the UK’s first openly gay male MP.

Lord Chris Smith said the glass ceiling in parliament had “well and truly been broken” in terms of gay and lesbian members of the Lords and Commons – but claimed progress had since slowed.

 

“The glass ceiling in the cabinet has been broken by quite a number of us over the years,” he said.

“Sadly at present they seem to want to put it back in again.”

Lord Smith, a former Labour cabinet minister, who revealed in 2005 he was HIV positive before standing down the same year, told the BBC in an interview to mark LGBT+ History Month that the prime minister had a “blind spot” on the issue.

He encouraged Mr Johnson to “look to the greater talent that is out there”, saying it would “include some people who happen to be lesbian or gay”.

 

He described the lack of openly LGBT+ cabinet ministers as a “matter of great regret” and urged the prime minister to bring in a more diverse team in “the next year or two”.

A government spokesperson told the BBC the prime minister was “committed to doing more to make sure the government fully represents the people it serves”.

Lord Smith of Finsbury, who as culture secretary introduced free admission to British museums and galleries, spent 12 years as the only openly gay MP in the Commons after his election in 1984.

 

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