International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 16th May 2019.

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Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert Conservative, Arundel and South Downs 3:32 pm, 16th May 2019

I will make a fraction more progress, if my hon. Friend will allow me.

Let me raise two further key issues. The first relates to how we respond. I shall leave it to the Minister to set out the many ways in which the Government have used their resources of soft power and, indeed, funding to ensure that groups around the world can promote LGBT+ rights. We must commend them for that, but we must ensure that the funding is sustained. Few countries in the world are in a stronger position than the United Kingdom, because of our own record on human rights, because of what we have achieved in our own country, and because of the soft power that we are able to exercise globally and in organisations such as the Commonwealth, to promote LGBT+ rights on the world stage. I congratulate the Government on taking many initiatives in this respect, but those initiatives must be sustained.

The Government will shortly assume the co-chairmanship of the Equal Rights Coalition, a nascent intergovernmental organisation to promote LGBT+ rights, along with the Argentine Government. I urge the Minister and his ministerial colleagues in other Departments—including the Defence Secretary, who is responsible for equalities, the Foreign Secretary, and the new Secretary of State for International Development—to note the importance of that chairmanship and of the conference that we will hold next year, and to ensure that sufficient resources are committed to what will be a very important period. It is an opportunity for the UK to lead in this area, but that initiative requires greater co-ordination, greater organisation and dedicated resources.