LGBT+ Conservatives urged to pull branded condoms ‘as a favour’ to Liz Truss, leaked emails suggest

An image of a condom with the Conservative Party logo edited onto it.

Internal emails from LGBT+ Conservatives suggest the group was told to pull its branded condoms from conference by the prime minister.

The party’s LGBTQ+ group announced on Thursday (22 September) that it would no longer be distributing its sloganed condoms at the party’s conference, which came with phrases such as “Never kissed a Tory but I’ve had safe sex with one”.

LGBT+ Conservatives said in a statement they would distribute ordinary branded condoms instead following the death of The Queen, as they felt it would strike a more sombre tone.

However, internal LGBT+ Conservatives emails seen by PinkNews suggest the group was asked to withdraw the condoms by Liz Truss.

Privately, LGBT+ Conservatives members denied Truss was involved, saying the content of the emails were based on a miscommunication.

In an email to members, which has been seen by PinkNews, LGBT+ Conservatives chair Elena Bunbury said they were asked to withdraw the sloganed condoms from conference to avoid promoting a “sexual” image of the party in the wake of the Chris Pincher scandal – who was investigated for two alleged incidents of sexual assault.

Chris Pincher posing for a parliamentary portrait.

Chris Pincher. (Official parliamentary portrait)

In her email, Bunbury said the request had come from Tory MP Peter Gibson, who serves as a patron of LGBT+ Conservatives.

“They have asked us to not hand out, display, or promote the condoms at conference, to pretend like they never existed,” Bunbury wrote in the email.

“They have said we can hand out unbranded condoms as they still want to promote safe sex, but nothing branded, and have advised us to say publicly that ‘the printers have let us down’.”

Bunbury continued: “Just to make clear, this is not an order or a rule, they are asking this ‘as a favour to the PM’.”

Concerns of being seen as ‘a sexual party’

Bunbury stressed that the condoms had been signed off on by “multiple people” within the party before they had them made.

However, she told members the view had since changed at CCHQ about the condoms.

“Their concerns are that is [sic] promotes us as a sexual party, following everything with Chris Pincher, they feel it could be linked to that.”

Bunbury asked for feedback from members, adding that it was “simply a request” and not an order from the prime minister.

She also told members they would be reimbursed by the party if they decided not to use the condoms.

Liz Truss smiles as she stands outside a building wearing a purple outfit

Liz Truss. (Getty)

The chair went on to lay out her own concerns about pulling the condoms from conference. Bunbury said favours have to be earned, and pointed out that Truss “did not even respond to our leadership request or multiple meetings and event invitations”.

She also expressed concern that pulling the condoms and blaming the printers would make LGBT+ Conservatives look “unorganised and unreliable”.

However, Bunbury also said pulling the condoms could “make the PM like us more” and pointed out that complying with the request would stop them from losing money as the party would reimburse them for the cost.

Members suggested using the queen’s death as an excuse

Bunbury’s email was sent to PinkNews alongside screenshots of three other emails sent by LGBT+ Conservatives members on the issue.

One member expressed concern that pulling the condoms would make LGBT+ Conservatives look like they were “attention seeking” by announcing them in the first place.

“When people inevitably take pictures of the condoms, they cannot say it’s for any other cause than a good one, especially in the LGBT community during a monkeypox flare up,” he wrote.

“From a PR perspective, I would strongly suggest pressing ahead as planned. No 10 is being paranoid.”

Another member said they should comply with the request “given its [sic] a request from the top” and that they had “time to come up with a solid line to justify it”.

Prime minister Liz Truss is seen wearing a dark blue outfit

Prime minister Liz Truss appointed Katherine Fletcher, a Tory MP for South Ribble, as minister for women. (Getty)

Responding to that point, another member said: “I sincerely hope we do press on, however if we do not: we could say we’ve retracted the condoms on the news of the death of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and that conference is set to strike quite a different tone now”.

“People can mock us for that all they like, and I’m not sure I’d really care – and it would have the benefit of appearing more truthful than ‘the printer broke’.”

Another member replied to say the group should withdraw the condoms, saying “no good will come” of them ignoring the request – which he described as “more than a request really”.

He went on to suggest they should ask for a “tit for tat” and get Truss to attend one of their events at the conference “and not just for five minutes”.

That same member suggested they could tell media they were withdrawing the condoms so they could instead set out their priorities and “focus rather ruthlessly on policy” instead.

Members deny Truss was involved

When approached for comment, LGBT+ Conservatives chair Elena Bunbury said: “We maintain a regular and open dialogue with CCHQ on our planned conference activity as an affiliated group.

“In light of the recent passing of Her late Majesty the Queen and the sombre reflections and commemorations this conference will take, we have decided not to go ahead with the planned distribution of sloganed condoms. Instead, we will be distributing branded logo condoms instead.”

She added: “We are committed to promoting safe sex and that is what this campaign is about.

“We are proud of the relationship we have built with all parliamentarians and the party and will continue to work with CCHQ to run a great conference.”

LGBT+ Conservatives members expressed mixed views on the issue when approached by PinkNews.

Some insisted that the email thread was based solely on a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings  and that the request had never come from Truss directly.

They also insisted the decision was entirely to do with the death of the monarch and that the sloganed condoms would not fit in with the sombre tone of the conference.

One LGBT+ Conservatives member expressed disappointment with the decision to withdraw the sloganed condoms from conference, saying it was “frustrating” that the party appeared to have “kiboshed” their plans at the last minute.

“Maybe the party is lacking a sense of humour,” the party member said.

PinkNews has contacted No 10 and Peter Gibson for comment.