*UPDATE: Since publication, the Foreign Office has issued a correction to its figures. It initially said it had given Stonewall almost £430,000 over a four-year period. On 17 November 2021, this was updated to almost £975,000 – more than double the original figure.*
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is still paying thousands to LGBT lobby group Stonewall, despite other Government offices deserting the group’s controversial ‘Diversity Champions’ scheme.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – who also holds the Women and Equalities brief – has previously advised government departments to withdraw from the scheme, which tells employers to promote radical gender ideology in the workplace.
Truss made the statement in May and took over as Foreign Secretary in September, but her own department is still on Stonewall’s books, having renewed its membership of the ‘Diversity Champions’ programme in July.
The Secretary of State is expected to withdraw the department from the scheme when the membership expires next year, as happened when she was head of The Department for International Trade.
The Times reports that the decision to renew the contract was made by senior officials without ministerial approval.
In the past four years the Foreign Office has given the lobby group almost £430,000 to promote LGBT issues abroad.
Officials also invited Stonewall CEO Nancy Kelley to an event last month without Truss’s knowledge. Kelley claims that refusing to accept that it is possible to change sex is akin to anti-semitism.
A Whitehall source said: “For FCDO officials to covertly sign off taxpayer funds subsidising a controversial lobby group mired in constant rows is negligent at best and, at worst, conniving.” Another said it showed there are a number of officials who consider themselves “fundamentally unaccountable to ministers”.
‘Unaccountable lobby group’
Stonewall has increasingly come under fire in recent months for its hardline promotion of radical gender ideology, and its pervasive influence on public bodies and other institutions.
Last month, BBC journalists Stephen Nolan and David Thompson revealed the widespread influence of the LGBT lobby group on national governments and institutions in their podcast Nolan Investigates: Stonewall.
During the series, Nolan observed: “We have spent months investigating the public bodies who have a relationship with Stonewall. And we’ve found examples, where government is essentially paying Stonewall to lobby it. Yes. You’ve heard that right. I’ll say it again. Lobbyists being paid, by the people they are lobbying, to lobby.”
He asked: “How worrying is it, that there is an unaccountable lobby group, partly funded by you, the public, which has unparalleled access to your Government, to your employer, to your police force, to your BBC?”