Home Secretary Sajid Javid tells PinkNews reception: We will tackle homophobic hate crime

The UK’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid has vowed to tackle anti-LGBT hate crime, speaking at the PinkNews Summer Reception in Westminster.

Javid was addressing the PinkNews summer reception in Westminster in partnership with Zurich, which follows events in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.

Speaking at the event, the Home Secretary gave his personal backing to the government’s recently-announced Action Plan that takes a tough line on anti-LGBT bullying, hate crimes and gay ‘cure’ therapy.

He also condemned anti-LGBT violence around the world, saying: “We must not get complacent “On Sunday, police used tear gas, dogs and batons to push back crowds celebrating Istanbul’s 16th gay pride march.”

The Home Secretary took the opportunity to apologise for historic anti-LGBT persecution – less than five minutes after Shadow Home Secretary called on him to do so.

He said: “It’s shocking to remember that back in the 1950s, the then Home Secretary vowed to eradicate homosexuality.

“Undercover police were instructed to loiter in bars, entrap gay men and put them in jail.

“Let me tell you, as the current Home Secretary, that was wrong, wrong, wrong, and I’m sorry that I ever happened.

Javid also vowed to tackle hate crime.

He said: “My department will also take further action to tackle LGBT hate crime, by working to improve the recording and reporting of it as well as the police response.

“This week I’ve announced more funding for the police to deliver training to call handlers to help identify when someone is reporting hate crime.

“Our LGBT Action Plan will be supported by £4.5m of funding and we will make sure the work is completed by the end of this Parliament.

“I will also be setting up a new LGBT Advisory Panel who will help us deliver the Action Plan.

“They will provide advice and guidance to make sure all of us in Government are doing the very best we can.

“I want Britain to be a place where everyone feels comfortable – whatever your sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid arrives at Downing Street ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting on July 3, 2018 in London, England. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

This is the fourth and final regional reception held by PinkNews to bring politicians and campaigners together to celebrate achievements and discuss shortcomings in terms of LGBT+ rights. 

Javid, the Home Secretary since April is a supporter of LGBT+ rights and spoke out in favour of equality at the 2015 PinkNews Awards. 

“I’m no stranger to inequality,” he said. “I grew up as a young lad being verbally abused and physically abused because of my colour or people didn’t like a certain religion.”

“So it’s no surprise I’ve always been a strong advocate for equality.”

Newly appointed Home Secretary Sajid Javid attends the first cabinet meeting following the Re-Shuffle at Downing Street on May 1, 2018 in London, England. (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

In 2014, while serving as Business Secretary, Javid wrote for PinkNews: “Everyone should be able to live free of fear and of violence, and it’s time we ended this prejudice.”

PinkNews’ summer reception in Belfast last week was attended by all major Northern Irish party leaders, with DUP leader Arlene Foster making her first ever appearance at an LGBT event.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones spoke at the Cardiff reception, while the summer reception in Edinburgh on June 20 was addressed by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.