The new Prime Minister met with King Charles on Tuesday morning


It’s a turbulent time in UK politics right now, to say the least. Following Liz Truss’s resignation on 20 October, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has been appointed the new Prime Minister by the Conservative Party. After just 50 days, we have a new leader. But what is his track record on LGBTQIA rights?

Overall, Sunak’s voting records demonstrate that he has generally voted against laws promoting equality and human rights. Notably, he was absent for the vote on legalising equal marriage in Northern Ireland in 2019 but was not an MP when the UK Parliament voted on earlier significant milestones in LGBTQIA equality. In May 2016, he voted in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act 1998.

Prior to launching his bid for leadership earlier this year, he pledged that if appointed to the post, he would reverse “recent trends to erase women via the use of clumsy, gender-neutral language.” In April 2022, he further expressed that trans people deserved “respect” but remarked that biology is “important” and “fundamental” when discussing both toilets and sports.

Following Sunak’s appointment, Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive of Stonewall (she/her) stated: “We congratulate Rishi Sunak on becoming the next Prime Minister of the UK and invite him to engage with the LGBTQ+ community as he embarks on his task of uniting the country and tackling mounting economic adversity.

“Now is the time for inclusive values and policies that bring people together to face these challenges. A more inclusive Britain is good for communities, good for businesses, and important for Britain’s position as a global leader.

“Stonewall has worked with nine Prime Ministers over 33 years to push forward progress for LGBTQ+ people and we will continue to do so in order to defend the rights of our community.”

In a statement given to PinkNews, former UK Government LGBTQIA advisor and anti-conversion therapy campaigner Jayne Ozanne also urged Sunak to support LGBTQIA rights. “In congratulating Mr Sunak on his appointment as prime minister, I would urge him to prioritise the needs of those who are feeling the most vulnerable and scared at this time of extreme uncertainty. This includes members of the LGBT+ community, many of whom live in constant fear given the toxic nature of the debate over trans rights, exemplified by soaring hate crime statistics.”

“He has an opportunity to address these concerns directly by giving a clear commitment to a full ban on ‘conversion therapy’ and abolishing the barbaric Rwanda asylum policy. Moreover, I hope he will look to reset the clock in relation to the Tory party’s disastrous relationship with the LGBT+ community over the past few years.”

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