Helen Morgan demands a debate on treatment of LGBT veterans

5 Feb 2024
Helen Morgan outside Parliament

Helen Morgan has asked the Government for a debate on the treatment of LGBT veterans after an ‘upsetting and moving’ meeting with a gay veteran in her constituency.

The MP told the House that the homophobic working environment had left a profound and damaging impact on her constituent, who was forced to work under the constant threat of being thrown out of the forces and convicted.

Helen has now asked the Government to use Parliamentary time to hold a debate where LGBT veterans’ stories can be shared and the compensation they have been offered can be scrutinised.

The Government had previously promised to hold a debate in Westminster on the issue but broke this commitment last year.

Gay and lesbian citizens have only been allowed to serve openly in the armed forces since 2000. The LGBT Veterans Independent Review published last year heard about the experience of more than 1,000 veterans who served from the 1960s to 2000s and found there had been an "incomprehensible policy of homophobic bigotry," with servicemen and women subjected to homophobia, bullying, blackmail, sexual assaults, "disgraceful" medical examinations, and conversion therapy.

Helen Morgan, MP for North Shropshire, told the House, “At the beginning of the month, I had a meeting with a veteran who came to my advice surgery, who was gay. In what was a genuinely upsetting and moving meeting, he described the profound impact on his life of having lived in fear of being convicted and in a genuinely horrifying homophobic environment at his work.

“Now, we've had a statement and an apology in the House, which is welcome, but we haven't had a debate in which the voices of the LGBT veterans can be heard and their compensation scrutinised.

“So please, may we have that debate in Government time, because this is a very important issue.”