William Hague criticised by gay campaigners

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Foreign secretary William Hague has been criticised by gay rights activists for failing to answer their questions.

The minister took part in a Twitter question and answer session earlier today but declined to answer some questions on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans rights.

He did answer one question on whether oil and trade is “more important when dealing with countries” than human rights, the death penalty and homophobia.

In response, he said:”No. Human rights are fundamental to this government – I am improving and strengthening our human rights work.”

However, gay activists said they were disappointed that he did not comment on whether the UK would join the US in trying to reinstate a reference to gay people in a UN resolution and how the UK can help improve human rights in Qatar and Russia before the countries host the World Cup.

Mr Hague was the subject of rumours about his sexual orientation earlier this year. He was forced to issue a statement denying that he and wife Ffion’s marriage was in trouble.

Nicolas Chinardet, who submitted a question, said: “The government is keen to express its commitment to LGBT rights within the UK and internationally. Mr Hague’s oversight today is very disappointing.

“While I understand that he cannot answer all questions, it is worrying that he could have chosen to discard questions on subjects currently of great concern to many members of the community.”

Gay asylum campaigner Paul Canning, who also asked the foreign secretary a question, added: “Hague should ask Hillary Clinton about how to support LGBT human rights.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman pointed out that Mr Hague had answered one question which mentioned gay rights.

He added: “In a one hour session it simply wasn’t possible for the foreign secretary to answer every one of the many questions he received.

“The FCO is fully committed to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people enjoying the full range of human rights.”

Mr Hague answered questions on Wikileaks, Gary McKinnon and radical Islam.

One Tweeter said: “You have a very interesting job but you never tweet anything remotely interesting. Why not?”

The foreign secretary replied: “I suspect those two observations are linked.”