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Statement from Caroline Nokes MP and Kate Osborne MP on evidence given by former Minister Mike Freer MP

7 July 2022

Following an evidence session with the former Minister for Equalities Mike Freer MP this afternoon, which preceded his resignation from the post, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, and Member of the Committee Kate Osborne MP, who chaired the session, have released a joint statement:

“We heard evidence this afternoon from the former Minister for Equalities, Mike Freer MP, on issues important to the LGBTQ+ community, such as equality of healthcare provision and the promised conversion therapy bill.

It was clear in his evidence to us that the Minister has been frustrated by some parts of Government in this work. In his own words, policies reflecting the priorities of the LGBTQ+ community "are not in a good place”. This is a disquieting admission. It is clear that the good work of Ministers and civil servants seeking to progress equalities and the rights of our marginalised communities are being hindered by “own goals” for “easy headlines”.

We share the frustration of those who work to improve the lives of those in the LGBTQ+ community, who feel that their work is being poisoned by the rhetoric of a few who wish to weaponise issues that should be handled with the upmost care and compassion.

We would like to thank Mike Freer for keeping his commitment to give evidence to us today. And for speaking with openness and honesty. We hope that future Government Equalities Office Ministers will approach their brief with the same dedication and compassion.”

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