Kemi Badenoch: Boris Johnson’s new equalities minister abstained from key LGBT+ votes

Gina Gambetta
Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament (

The government’s newly appointed junior minister for equalities has never voted on equal gay rights or gay marriage in her three years as an MP, it has emerged.

Following Boris Johnson’s reshuffle, Kemi Badenoch is working on policy for women and LGBT+ people – but she has abstained on every Commons vote on the issue.

In July 2019, the Saffron Walden MP abstained from a vote on Northern Ireland’s extensions of “Marriage of Same-Sex Couples” and “Marriage and Civil Partnerships” for same sex people. Both of these successfully passed through the Houses.

Laura Russell, Director of Policy, Campaigns and Research at Stonewall, told The Independent: “Everyone who holds public office needs to champion the individuals they represent, including LGBT people, and we will work with Government toward creating a world where all LGBT people are truly accepted.’

‘There has been a lot of progress towards LGBT equality over the last thirty years, from the introduction of equal marriage to the creation of anti-discrimination laws. But we are far from living in an equal society, and hate crimes against LGBT people are on the rise, including a reported 37 per cent increase in hate crime towards trans people over the last year.”

Additionally, in June 2018, Badenoch voted against retaining the EU’s “Charter of Fundamental Rights” following Brexit. That Labour amendment was voted down, with 320 MPs to 301 voting against it.

But in 2016, during her period as a London Assembly member, Badenoch successfully lobbied for Survivors UK, a London charity that supports male victims of rape, to be awarded £78.000.

She has also made controversial statements regarding Friends and sexual harassment in the post-#MeToo era.

Badenoch said in an interview with The House magazine in 2018 about criticisms of the hit sitcom: “In the papers, they were talking about how Friends is now sort of really homophobic, transphobic and so on. That, for me, is a very, very – it’s actually a puritanical position, which I think of as conservative. So, you can’t really put your finger on what is what these days.”

Also during her interview she called young people “puritanical” regarding sexual harassment: “What we thought was quite liberal is now seen as quite conservative and vice versa… When I look at a lot of the stuff that you see on social media about how – I think it’s a generational thing as well – younger people look at appropriate behaviour and what is a sexual advance, what is sexual harassment and so on, to me, it’s actually becoming a lot more puritanical than anything I ever saw in my 20s or in my teens.”

On Monday, Boris Johnson’s newly appointed aide, Andrew Sabisky, whose controversial comments on compulsory contraception and suggesting that black people are mentally inferior.

The Conservative Party and Badenoch have been approached for comment.