Tesco ‘proud’ to back LGBTQ+ charities after ex-MP sparks online row

Former MP Mark Reckless poses for a portrait outside the Houses of Parliament

Tesco has said it stands by supporting LGBTQ+ charities after a former Tory and UKIP MP sparked an online row about its choices.

Mark Reckless, former MP for Rochester and Strood from 2010 to 2015, took to Twitter on September 13 with a photo of a Tesco charity box, which was accepting donations for three LGBTQ+ charities.

He captioned the tweet: “Your three choices for charitable giving at Tesco Cardiff” – and people were quick to question the former MP’s motives.

One user asked him if he had highlighted the causes for any particular reason.

He said: “No, I wonder if Tesco have themed only for LGBT charities. Someone asked fairly would I have tweeted if three different food banks, but I have only noticed before when three different charities, rather than three with a similar theme.”

Another response read: “Are you expecting us to be happy, annoyed or is it just public information?” 

Reckless replied: “I have had all three responses.”

A Tesco spokesperson told PinkNews that the charities were chosen to mark Pride.

Causes which can be donated to until 30 September include the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES), Imaan LGBTQI Muslim Support and Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline.

“We’re really proud of the work we do to support the LGBTQ+ community,” they said.

“The charities that are currently included in our Community Grants scheme at our Cardiff Extra store were chosen to coincide with Pride Cymru which took place last month.” 

The spokesperson said the city was one of several locations across the UK where Tesco focused on supporting LGBTQ+ charities for Pride, and that it had done the same in 2018.

Reckless began his parliamentary career as a Tory MP. He defected to UKIP in 2014, winning a subsequent by-election, but lost his seat in the 2015 general election.

He served as a member of the Senedd from 2016 until 2021, and later became leader of the Brexit Party in Wales.

He insisted he supports LGBTQ+ rights in an interview with The Telegraph, saying: “I marched against Clause 28 and voted for equal marriage, but was surprised to see Tesco here supporting only LGBT charities, as I hadn’t previously seen them offer three charity choices with a similar theme, although of course I wish them all well.” 

Clause 28, also known as Section 28 banned local authorities and schools from “promoting homosexuality”. The hated law was repealed on 18, November, 2003 in England and Wales.

Minister for equalities, Nadhim Zahawi, recently sparked fears of a new Section 28 during his own Tory leadership bid.

PinkNews contacted Reckless for further comment.