Lord Browne: BP should send gay employees to Russia to push for change

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The former CEO of British Petroleum, Lord Browne, has said the company could send gay employees into countries like Russia which have anti-gay laws.

On whether or not the move would change attitudes in the country which last year introduced a law banning the “promotion of non-traditional relationships”, Lord Brown said companies needed to do more to champion gay rights.

“What you need is attitude change and corporations so set norms of behaviour in other countries. By example they are slowly moving things forward,” he said.

“Should BP send gay people into Russia? I think yes you could do that. Provided that you are very aware you are sending them into a place of extreme risk.”

The 66-year-old spoke at Hay Festival to encourage gay workers to come out as soon as they could when starting at a new company.

On how quickly they should come out he said: “In my view as soon as possible. Living with all over those fears is not right.

“I think I would have been a less reserved person [if I had come out earlier] and I think I would have been much happier earlier. And I wouldn’t have had to go through that extraordinary cataclysmic episode.”

He also said he hoped to see a gay Prime Minister in Britain within his own lifetime.