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Johnson and Corbyn agree – Britain has ‘long way to go’ on LGBT equality

Speaker John Bercow was honoured with a Special Award.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the Pink News Awards at Church House in Westminster (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the Pink News Awards at Church House in Westminster (Isabel Infantes/PA)

By Helen William, PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke in rare agreement to concede that Britain still has “a long way to go” in improving the lives of the LGBT community.

Their comments came in separate speeches at the PinkNews Awards, which are billed as celebrating the “best and brightest in LGBT+ equality”.

To loud applause from guests at the central London ceremony, Mr Corbyn said that confirmation of equal marriage being made lawful in Northern Ireland should come through on Monday.

He said: “It is something that we should all be proud of.

“We will have equal marriage across the whole of the UK.

“It is a long way that we have come, but we still have a long way to go.”

He also spoke out against the 37% rise in reported hate crimes against transgender people.

He said: “We have to come together to defeat this hatred that is perpetuated by ill-informed people and aggressive people, by fundamentally nasty people on the streets of our cities.”

His words were echoed by Mr Johnson, who in a recorded message noted that the UK is co-chair of the equal rights coalition and London will host an international conference on LGBT equality next May.

He said: “Of course you don’t need me to tell you that there is still a long, long way to go. And there’s still a painfully large gap between what the law says should happen and the lived experience of LGBT people across the UK.

“That has to change and it is changing and the fact that it’s changing is thanks in no small part to the people here tonight.”

He described Britain as “one of the most liberal countries in the world as far as LGBT equality is concerned”.

He also said it is “not afraid to stand up to homophobic bullies around the world.”

John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, collected the Special Award.

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John Bercow collects his award (Isabel Infantes/PA)

He said of the equal marriage changes: “It is the most civilised piece of legislation that has been brought by Parliament.

“It has brought no ill and has brought great happiness.”

Primary school teacher Andrew Moffat, who has been the target of protests by parents concerned about teachings on LGBT rights, won the newly-introduced Role Model Award.

It aims to recognise someone who has made an “indelible difference in the fight for LGBT+ equality around the world in the last year”.

Mr Moffat is the assistant head at Parkfield Community School in Alum Rock, Birmingham, and is also gay.

He described a 300-person protest outside his school earlier this year as “a really difficult” time in his 25-year teaching career.

PA

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