It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Roger. I thank my hon. Friend Nick Fletcher for introducing the debate.
I want to put on the record that, since I took up the role of Equalities Minister, I have always sought to ensure that the tone is respectful. People have a right to disagree. They have a right to hold views and express them firmly without being cancelled, as hon. Members have said. I also want to put on the record that pursuing someone’s rights does not mean taking someone else’s rights away. It does not have to be one or the other. I am sure that, as we pursue these thorny topics, we can seek agreement and find some common ground.
The United Kingdom is a diverse society with many different cultures, backgrounds, identities and perspectives, and that diversity is a source of strength and enrichment of our culture and a driving force for change and growth. Our United Kingdom is made great by its diversity and its embracing of new cultures, new peoples and—dare I say it?—new ways of looking at people’s sexuality and gender.
That diversity started from simple things—well, they were not simple at the time—from the 1957 Wolfenden report on the decriminalisation of homosexuality, to the full recognition of same-sex marriage across all four nations of the UK.