Miriam Cates MP praises “incredibly brave” Kate Forbes in interview with the CI

Prominent Christian MP Miriam Cates has spoken with The Christian Institute’s Deputy Director Simon Calvert about her headline-grabbing Parliamentary work.

She praised SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes and rejected attempts to silence Christians in the public square. She also took the time to thank the Institute and its supporters for their encouragement.

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In a wide-ranging interview she spoke about the damage caused by pornography, the “frightening” risks from a conversion therapy ban, the importance of going to see your MP, and how her Christian faith motivates her.

Sex education reform

Mrs Cates recently persuaded Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to commission an independent review into sex education after yet more evidence emerged of explicit and inappropriate materials being used in schools.

“We had enough evidence to convince the Prime Minister”, she said, “that there was a real problem that needed sorting out”. Asked how willing colleagues were to listen to her concerns she said:

“One of the things that really helps MPs …is when constituents turn up in their surgeries with personal stories. And, of course, as the incidence of children not being safeguarded at schools has increased, more and more parents have turned up in MPs’ constituency surgeries …and told their stories. Of course, at that point MPs know that this is real, this is happening, and they are much more willing either to speak out themselves or support me and others when we speak out about it.”

She called her successful campaign on RSE, “an example of how democracy can work from the grass roots up and of how, if you can get MPs’ attention, you can get a collaborative effort and bring things to the attention of those in power”.

Trans issues in schools

Repeating her call for better guidance for schools on how to deal with trans issues, Mrs Cates said:

“…over the last ten years there’s been an exponential increase in the number of children presenting with gender distress – typically girls wanting to be boys, wanting to be treated as boys… the on-the-ground impact of that is that many schools don’t know what to do. Some are transitioning these children socially, changing their names and pronouns, allowing girls to use boys’ toilets and vice versa… some aren’t telling parents. But it’s not a problem that schools can deal with on their own. They need guidance – legal guidance, medical guidance – and at the moment it’s a Wild West.”

“It’s not just about the children who present with [gender] distress. They should be safeguarded and they should be assessed for other vulnerabilities. But it’s also the other children. …When schools say to a class full of children ‘this girl is now a boy and is going to be known by this name, use the pronouns “he” and “him”’, those other children are then compelled to say that this girl is a boy even if they don’t believe that. And I think that’s significant and also needs addressing in the guidance.”

Banning ‘conversion therapy’

The MP was asked about plans for a ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’, an issue on which the CI and its supporters have been campaigning for several years:

“Nobody thinks anything coercive or abusive or physically violent should be allowed. Many, if not all, of those things are covered by existing law. But of course… to say that telling a child who expresses gender distress that they are the opposite sex, and anything else is conversion therapy, is a very different thing”.

“To say to a counsellor, to parents, to teachers, to medical professionals that you just have to accept a child’s view of their gender identity, and anything else could be illegal, is very frightening.”


As discussion moved to the role of pornography in the massive increase in young girls identifying at trans, the MP said:

“The view of women and femininity and female sexuality that pornography portrays is very unrealistic and very traumatic to girls. We’re hearing hideous reports of girls presenting at A & E with strangulation injuries, with other horrific injuries, that are straight out of the pornography playbook. Girls are finding it increasingly difficult to say no to sex acts that they don’t want because it’s now been normalised so much by pornography. And I can quite understand why a girl going through puberty and seeing that as an example of female sexuality thinks ‘I don’t want anything to do with it’. So that could well be a factor.”

Asked why there wasn’t more political will to tackle porn online, she said:

“…children are often an afterthought in Parliament. What connects all the issues I’m involved with is protecting children and seeing them as the core vulnerable group that we as Parliamentarians should be protecting. I think unfortunately …children are not prioritised as they should be.”

“Fundamentally there has been this reluctance to hold Big Tech to account for what they’re allowing children to see”.

“There is a lot to do on age verification and how you make sure no one under 18 has access to these sites.”

“We’ve just got to get all pornography off the screens of every under-18”.

Christian faith

Talking about what motivates her, she referred to her passion for protecting children and her Christian faith:

“[Jesus] doesn’t give us a faith [and] salvation just to hide it. …We are called to let our light shine and not be hidden. Sometimes that’s difficult and sometimes we get attacked. But sometimes we get an enormous amount of support and thanks from people. I get both. If it was only attack it would be hard, but I get so many emails from Christians and many others thanking me for taking a stand on these things and that does really keep you going.”

“I am a Christian. I do believe in the Bible. …as [Lib Dem MP] Tim Farron says, everybody believes in something. Even if you don’t have a faith that you would classify as a religious faith, you have a worldview… Of course that motivates you and impacts your policies and how you think about things. So the idea that people of faith take a particular view and everyone else is neutral is just rubbish!”

“My beliefs are based on a Judeo-Christian worldview …It’s been in existence for an awful long time. …people will disagree with what I say and they are perfectly entitled to. But I don’t think that means that we as Christians should have any less of a voice than anybody else with any other worldview.”

Mrs Cates warmly praised SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes, who has faced attacks for her evangelical faith:

“I think she’s been incredibly brave and as a Christian I’m very grateful to her for standing up for what she believes and being willing to say it and also to say it in a very gracious way.”

“I think it has really opened the door for people to see the value that faith and belief can have. Of course she’s had attack but she’s also had some support from unlikely quarters, people who don’t agree with her views on some of the live issues but really value her for being willing to say it.”

She also commented on the resignation of Scotland’s First Minister and the role of public opinion on trans issues:

“Nicola Sturgeon was in the ascendance for a long time but it wasn’t education that brought her down and it wasn’t healthcare that brought her down… it was this gender debate. When the general public saw what was really going on, that really tipped the balance. I think that has really given credibility to a more traditional worldview that is actually shared by many people who would call themselves classical liberals”.

The MP took time to express her thanks for The Christian Institute and its supporters saying “the encouragement that comes from people just emailing, being kind on social media, is just so important and it’s really what keeps Christian MPs going”.

The Miriam Cates interview is part of our “In Conversation With…” series. You can watch previous episodes below.

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