New push to stop Stonewall getting taxpayers’ cash after legal battle raised fears over group’s influence
- Some Whitehall departments have already been told to cut their ties
- Over 900 employers were still signed up to the diversity champions programme
- The Bank of England, the Armed Forces and Scotland Yard remain signed up
- Army, Navy, RAF and Ministry of Defence will not renew membership next year
- All taxpayer-funded organisations will soon be under pressure to cut ties too
Public sector bodies are to be told to stop giving money to Stonewall after a legal battle raised fears over the group’s influence.
Whitehall departments have already been told to cut their ties but some have only placed their £2,500 annual membership fees under review.
And the Bank of England, the Armed Forces and Scotland Yard remain signed up to Stonewall’s diversity champions scheme.
An employment tribunal ruled last week that barrister Allison Bailey had been discriminated against by Garden Court Chambers over her ‘gender-critical’ beliefs that no one can change biological sex.
Barrister Allison Bailey objected to her legal chambers joining Stonewall’s diversity scheme and the charity made a formal complaint when she commented on social media about ‘trans extremism’
She had objected to her legal chambers joining Stonewall’s diversity scheme and the charity made a formal complaint when she commented on social media about ‘trans extremism’.
All taxpayer-funded organisations will soon be under pressure to cut their ties to the group because both Tories vying to be the next prime minister plan to take a tough stance against it.
A source close to frontrunner Liz Truss said: ‘Liz has long believed public sector organisations should withdraw from the Stonewall diversity champions scheme. It does not represent value for money.
‘As prime minister she would ensure government departments are not participating in the scheme.’ And a spokesman for her rival Rishi Sunak said: ‘Stonewall has become an organisation that no public sector body should associate with.’
Stonewall was at the centre of another row last week for claiming that children as young as two could be transgender and complaining that nurseries ‘teach a binary understanding of pre-assigned gender’.
After the message on Twitter caused uproar from MPs and campaigners, the charity was forced to issue a clarification stating it did not work in nursery education and believed pupils should ‘learn about LGBTQ+ identities in an age-appropriate and timely manner’.
Stonewall said more than 900 employers were still signed up to the diversity champions programme, receiving advice on how to ‘embed LGBTQ+ inclusion’ at work.
Junior minister Brendan Clarke-Smith last week confirmed the Department for Education was not funding Stonewall
It said more than 200 organisations joined in the year to last November and that overall the scheme was ‘growing in membership’ despite high-profile departures including the BBC, the House of Lords and University College London.
Last week junior minister Brendan Clarke-Smith confirmed the Department for Education was not funding Stonewall and business minister Lord Callanan said his department was ‘a Stonewall-free zone’.
Yet a spokesman for the Bank of England said: ‘We are still part of the programme – and are continuing to participate in 22/23.’
And West Midlands Police, the second-largest force in the country, said it was also signed up.
Sources told the Daily Mail that the Army, Navy and RAF, as well as the Ministry of Defence, will not renew their membership next year.
Former children’s minister Tim Loughton said: ‘Stonewall has been taking the taxpayer for a ride for too long. They act as judge, jury and executioner of equality policies which they write then enforce.
‘Government departments are fearful of dropping out of their scheme in case they get marked down by Stonewall.’
Tory MP Mark Jenkinson said last week’s tribunal judgment showed the risk for organisations that took advice from Stonewall.
He added: ‘Taxpayers’ money, at any government level or in quangos, should not be spent propping up an organisation like Stonewall who have now been shown to be acting against the interests of those LGB people they were created to protect.’
Women’s rights campaigner Maya Forstater added: ‘This judgment should serve as a warning to other organisations that they could also end up being liable for discrimination payouts.’