National Trust denies ‘ludicrous’ Spectator claim its ‘recruiting LGBT+ spies’

National Trust Pride flag

The National Trust has hit back at “ludicrous” claims published by The Spectator, including that “LGBT+ allies are being recruited to spy on” people.

In a column for The Spectator published on Thursday (1 July), titled “‘Fear and bullying’ at the National Trust”, journalist Charles Moore reported he had been contacted by “a current Trust employee, who naturally remains anonymous”.

The unnamed “employee” is quoted as saying: “At interviews people are asked how they voted in the Brexit referendum, and rejected out of hand if they voted to leave.”

He added that there is “an atmosphere of fear and bullying” in the National Trust against “anyone who holds a view opposed to the neo-Marxist model prevalent in the organisation”.

The “employee” continued: “Since the Trust’s ‘Prejudice and Pride‘ initiative [an LGBT+ history campaign], they have been in cahoots with Stonewall, whereby ‘LGBT+ allies’ are recruited to spy on and weed out anyone who thinks, speaks or acts in an ‘unacceptable’ way.”

Moore himself slammed the National Trust for supporting Black Lives Matter in the column, insisting it is “an extreme political organisation which explicitly attacks ‘whiteness'”.

He added: “Much emphasis is given to the Trust’s ‘Everyone Welcome‘ programme for staff. But if the idea of welcome is defined by politicised pressure groups, most people will feel excluded. Joy and fairness will be in short supply.”

The National Trust has demanded a retraction from The Spectator over ‘ludicrous’ claims

A spokesperson for the National Trust told PinkNews in a statement: “The allegations in Charles Moore’s article are without evidence or foundation, and some are plain ludicrous.

“We have asked for a retraction from The Spectator.

“We would not ask anyone about their voting preferences in any job interview. We have clear standards for all our staff to uphold on political neutrality.

“It is ridiculous to suggest that ‘LGBT allies are recruited to spy on’ people.

“The Editor’s Code of Practice clearly states that the press must take care not to publish misleading or distorted information, and we will follow this up with the Independent Press Standards Organisation.”

The Trust’s social media team has also had to take to Twitter to deny the claims after the article’s publication.

In one quickly-deleted response to a tweet accusing the Trust of “bullying”, it tweeted: Sorry for the delay, we were flushing someone’s head down the toilet – with all the bullying and that.

“These allegations are without evidence or foundation, and some are just plain ludicrous.”

It added: “Now, please excuse us, we’ve got to pinch someone’s lunch money.”

Less than a month ago, the National Trust’s director general Hilary McGrady hit back at an article in The Telegraph which claimed that the organisation was “telling” staff to wear rainbow face paint and glitter for Pride month.

McGrady wrote on Twitter: “Telegraph deliberately misleading again – so sad they are intent on stoking anger and division when there is none.

“Our wonderful volunteers are entirely at liberty to celebrate Pride if they so wish or not.”

The Telegraph later amended the article, claiming the Trust “asked” instead of “told” employees to dress up for Pride.