Building society closes vicar’s account over gender ideology feedback

An Anglican vicar had his Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) account closed after providing “polite” feedback on its promotion of gender ideology during LGBT ‘Pride’ month.

Revd Richard Fothergill received a letter informing him of the closure just four days after responding to the building society’s monthly request for feedback.

Banks and building societies are now facing a Treasury inquiry into claims that they are closing customers’ accounts because they do not like their views.

Pushing LGBT ideology

Revd Fothergill, a YBS client for 17 years, said: “They are a financial house – they are not there to do social engineering.

“I think they should concentrate their efforts on managing money, instead of promoting LGBT ideology.”

A senior source at the Treasury told The Daily Telegraph that the threat to free speech is “absolutely a concern”.

“No one should have their bank account denied on the grounds of freedom of expression. We expect to take action on this issue within weeks.”

‘Activist banking staff’

The vicar contacted the Free Speech Union for help. Its founder, Toby Young, said: “If you respond to a bank’s request for feedback in good faith you shouldn’t lose your account if you say something it doesn’t like.”

Craig Mackinlay MP, said: “With most banks signed up to Stonewall, one wonders if too much discretionary power now sits with some activist banking staff.

“Diversity, inclusion and equality works both ways including the right to a variety of opinions in a free society.”

‘Chilling effect’

Elsewhere, Metro Bank refused to open a business account for Our Duty, an international support group of more than 2,000 parents who want to protect their children from gender ideology.

Keith Jordan, the group’s founder, said a manager at the bank told him that “the content of your website conflicts with the culture and ideas we are pushing”.

Metro Bank recently joined Stonewall’s controversial Diversity Champions scheme to which the majority of High Street banks belong.

A spokesperson said: “Metro Bank is and will remain politically neutral and we will not refuse an account due to the political or personal beliefs of the individual or organisation.”

No explanation

Last month, the Royal Bank of Scotland informed Professor Lesley Sawers, the Equalities and Human Rights Commissioner for Scotland, that it would be closing her account.

Despite being a client for 32 years, the bank said it was unable to discuss the decision with her or provide “any further information in relation to our decision-making”.

Sawers’ husband was told by another bank that his wife has a “mark against her name”.

Also see:

Free speech

LGBTQ+ history prof attacks Govt for defending free speech

Home Secretary: ‘Offending someone is not a criminal offence’

Kate Forbes: ‘Scots are fed up of being intimidated into self-censorship’

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