Equalities minister Liz Truss is reportedly urging the government to cease participation in the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme that seeks to improve LGBTQ+ rights in workplaces across the country. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has already withdrawn from the programme after raising concerns over its “value for money”, with Truss now encouraging all government bodies to do so.
Truss’s actions are part of ongoing conflict between Stonewall and the UK government, with the LGBTQ+ organisation saying on May 24 that it has been subjected to a “coordinated attack” by the media, with outlets falsely claiming that the group had provided “potentially illegal” advice about equalities laws as part of the Diversity Champions programme. Stonewall was also accused of ‘silencing free speech’ in debates around trans rights.
In a statement, Stonewall said: “Over the last few months there has been a sustained attack on Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, which proudly partners with more than 850 leading employers to support their LGBTQ+ colleagues to thrive. We believe these attacks are threadbare and deliberately organised and coordinated to undermine support for our work to ensure every LGBTQ+ employee can thrive at work.”
It refuted claims that the organisation aimed to ‘stifle free speech’, saying: “Our Diversity Champions programme is simply a tool to help employers to embed LGBTQ+ inclusion across their organisations.”