Equalities minister Liz Truss urges Government to quit Stonewall ‘woke workplace’ diversity scheme after LGBT charity’s boss likens trans criticism to anti-Semitism
- Truss said to be pushing for departments to quit Diversity Champions scheme
- Stonewall was embroiled in a new row over transgender rights at the weekend
- Chief executive Nancy Kelley likened ‘gender critical’ beliefs to anti-Semitism
The Equalities Minister Liz Truss wants the Government to quit a diversity scheme run by the charity Stonewall amid a row over trans rights, it was revealed today.
Miss Truss is said to be pushing for departments to join the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Acas in dropping the Diversity Champions scheme over fears it is not providing value for money.
But it comes as Stonewall, a leading LGBT charity whose founders include the actor Sir Ian McKellan, was embroiled in a new row over transgender rights.
Its chief executive Nancy Kelley at the weekend likened ‘gender critical’ beliefs to anti-Semitism as she defended its pro-trans campaigning.
After criticism from the gay former Conservative MP Matthew Parris, Ms Kelley told the BBC: ‘With all beliefs including controversial beliefs there is a right to express those beliefs publicly and where they’re harmful or damaging – whether it’s anti-Semitic beliefs, gender critical beliefs, beliefs about disability – we have legal systems that are put in place for people who are harmed by that.’
Miss Truss is said to be pushing for departments to join the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Acas in dropping the Diversity Champions scheme over fears it is not providing value for money.
Stonewall chief executive Nancy Kelley at the weekend likened ‘gender critical’ beliefs to anti-Semitism as she defended its pro-trans position.
Chairman Baroness Falkner said the Equality and Human Rights Commission has left Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme
Doubling down when it was claimed that her remarks might be seen as offensive she added: ‘We’re talking about protected groups. We’re talking about people that are protected on the basis of their sexuality, people that are protected on the basis of gender identity, people who are protected on the basis of race and that’s why I think the analogy is apt.’
The Times today reported that Ms Truss had questioned the point of being in the scheme, when many departments have their own diversity programmes – though the ultimate decision on whether to withdraw lies with the Cabinet Office.
According to Stonewall there are more than 850 organisations, including 250 government departments and public bodies such as police forces, local councils and NHS trusts, signed up as ‘diversity champions’.
Membership to the scheme starts at around £2,500, which according to the LGBT charity’s website, buys employers access to expert advice and resources to make their workplaces ‘inclusive’.
Last week the EHRC, Britain’s equalities watchdog, cut ties with a Stonewall scheme for ‘woke’ workplaces after claims that it curbs free speech among staff.
Its decision comes amid accusations the scheme is encouraging public bodies and firms to adopt policies that create a ‘culture of fear’ among workers who disagree with transgender ideology.
A letter to the feminist campaign group Sex Matters from new commission chairman Baroness Falkner revealed: ‘We wrote to Stonewall in March to let them know that we would not be renewing our membership, and this has now expired.’
An EHRC spokesman said: ‘We have extensive expertise in this area and concluded that, for us, the Diversity Champions programme did not constitute best value for money.’
Baroness Falkner insisted earlier this month that people must have the right to question transgender identity without being abused.
The EHRC have also recently intervened in the employment tribunal appeal of Maya Forstater.
Ms Forstater lost her job over her comments on social media that ‘biological sex was real’ and that men could not transition to become women.