Labour MEP Michael Cashman: Stonewall should hold events in a ‘tent’ rather than The Dorchester

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The former chair of Stonewall, Labour MEP Michael Cashman, says the charity is wrong not to support a boycott of the Brunei-owned Dorchester hotel chain.

Last month, the Sultan of Brunei gave approval to Brunei’s new penal code, which urges death by stoning for same-sex sexual activity.

On Friday, Ruth Hunt, acting chief executive of Stonewall said the campaign against The Dorchester Collection will only harm Brunei’s LGBT community.

Writing for she said: “We only implement actions that we can calculate will have an impact”.

She added: “The boycott could do very real harm to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people of Brunei.”

Stonewall is under increasing pressure to sever its links and join an international boycott of The Dorchester Collection.

Britain’s largest gay rights charity held its annual Equality Dinner at The Dorchester on London’s Park Lane in April.

Yesterday, the British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) announced it will not stage its awards dinner at the hotel.

Tory peer Lord Deben, better known as John Gummer before his 2010 peerage, praised the move.

But he rejected Ruth Hunt’s decision not to support a boycott.

Labour MEP Michael Cashman, a former chair and co-founder of Stonewall, also criticised Ms Hunt.

Mr Cashman told “A boycott is essential. Any connection with the torturous and barbaric Brunei regime is to be vehemently and vigorously resisted.

“Stonewall would ensure that it is consistent in the application of principle and if necessary should hold its annual dinner or awards ceremony in a tent. Infinitely preferable to affording any credibility to the sharia fanatics in Brunei.”

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell also expressed his surprise and dismay at Stonewall’s position.

“I’m really surprised and disappointed that Ruth Hunt has taken the decision to not support a boycott of the Dorchester group,” Mr Tatchell told

“Nearly everyone else is endorsing it including many straight celebrities.

“I agree with Ruth that dialogue and persuasion are desirable wherever possible. But in this case I seriously doubt that the Sultan of Brunei will be receptive to the rational, compassionate arguments of Stonewall.”