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Foreign Office still paying Stonewall thousands of pounds


Liz Truss's department is still paying Stonewall to belong to its diversity scheme – months after she urged ministries to pull out.

The Foreign Office confirmed it remains a member of the LGBT+ charity’s ‘diversity champions programme’, which costs thousands of pounds a year.

Hundreds of companies and public bodies have joined the scheme to receive advice on how to create an inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff.

Earlier this year Miss Truss, then International Trade Secretary, told officials she believed government departments should withdraw from the scheme as it did not provide value for money.

But she has still not implemented the change at the Foreign Office – two months after becoming Foreign Secretary.

Stonewall’s chief executive Nancy Kelley claimed in May that ‘gender critical’ beliefs – that a person’s biological sex cannot be changed – were akin to anti-Semitism.

Despite this, she was invited to an event at the Foreign Office only last month.

The Stonewall scheme counts more than 200 government departments and public bodies among its 900 members – earning the charity millions of pounds a year.

It emerged over the weekend that 14 Whitehall bodies still have contracts with the organisation and have paid it at least £300,000 in the past five years. Figures released in parliamentary answers showed the Ministry of Defence was the biggest spender on £80,312.

But a growing number of public bodies are pulling out, including the House of Commons, Ofcom and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. Last week the Department of Health and Social Care also said it was withdrawing.

Members can be included on a list of employers known as the Workplace Equality Index.

It has emerged that those who bring their policies in line with Stonewall’s position, including replacing words such as ‘mother’ with gender-neutral alternatives, are ranked higher.