The Commons Speaker has spoken of his own journey on LGBT rights during a celebration of the 90th anniversary of the 1928 Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act – the law that gave all British people the right to vote on an equal basis.
As a Conservative MP, John Bercow opposed lowering the age of consent for homosexuals from 21 to 16.
But he told a ParliOUT EqualiTeas’ event at Speaker’s House, that he was proud to admit his previous stance had been “wrong” - and he is now a real advocate for LGBT rights.
During his nine years as Speaker, Mr Bercow has worked hard to make the House of Commons more diverse and representative of the nation.
In 2010 he was nominated the first leadership president of ParliOUT – the Workplace Equality Network (WEN) in support of LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people in Parliament.
The group boasts more than 200 members – including peers, MPs and parliamentary staff. He has also worked hard to increase the number of women and people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) into leadership positions within the Houses of Parliament.
ParliOUT co-chair Stephen Furber said:
“We couldn’t ask for a more vocal supporter of diversity in Parliament than the Speaker – and we were honoured to hear from him at our EqualiTeas’ event.”
The UK-wide EqualiTeas’ events were a celebration of democratic equality and the nation’s right to vote, with tea parties taking place all over the country between 18 June and 2 July, 2018.