Lord Speaker Norman Fowler: LGBT rights are ‘way above party politics’

Lord speaker Norman Fowler

The UK Parliament’s Lord Speaker Norman Fowler said that politicians from all parties need to come together to fight for LGBT+ rights which he said are “way above party politics.”

“No one can be remotely content with the homophobic, transphobic and biphobic attacks today, not one can be satisfied with the fact that nearly half of pupils aged 11 to 19 are bullied at school if they are LGBT+,” Fowler said at the PinkNews Westminster summer reception on Thursday (July 4).

I think that’s a disgrace to a civilised community,” he continued. 

Fowler acknowledged the progress that has been made in LGBT+ rights since the Stonewall riots in 1969, but said that “we are not remotely at the end.”

“There are very obvious gaps,” he said, “and there is one very obvious gap in Northern Ireland that should be closed sooner rather than later,” referring to marriage equality in the region.

The Lord Speaker said that political parties must put aside their differences to fight for equality.

Lord speaker Norman Fowler

Lord Speaker Norman Fowler made a speech at the PinkNews Westminster Summer Reception. (Paul Grace/ PinkNews)

Lord Speaker Norman Fowler: “It is noble campaign, and it’s a campaign that we must all fight together”

He said: “One of our tasks over the coming years is to tackle discrimination, tackle prejudice and tackle injustice.

“In my view there is no greater or more urgent task in the coming years of the 21st century. It is way above party politics, way above. 

“It is a global campaign in which politicians of all parties can campaign, it is noble campaign, and it’s a campaign that we must all fight together. “

Fowler served as health minister under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during the AIDS crisis, and became a prominent voice for raising awareness of epidemic. 

He dedicated much of his later career to HIV advocacy and LGBT+ issues, entering the Lords in 2001 and before taking up his role as the UK Parliament’s Lord Speaker in September 2016.

Fowler also announced at the PinkNews Westminster summer reception that for Pride weekend the Palace of Westminster would be lit up in rainbow colours. 

The reception took place at Church House in Westminster, London, and was supported by lead partner Gilead, supporting partner Octopus Group, and charity partners Pride in London.

The nominations for the PinkNews business equality and role model awards were announced on the night by Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry.