Rishi Sunak refuses to condemn Turning Point UK over protests against drag events for kids

Rishi Sunak during a session of prime minister questions

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has evaded a call to condemn the anti-LGBTQ+ group Turning Point UK amid calls for the Tories to cut ties with the hard-line right-wing organisation.

During Prime Minister’s Questions today (26 April), Sunak was asked to condemn anti-drag protests scheduled by the pressure group, which has ties to similar organisations in the US, including, reportedly, the far-right conspiracy theorists Infowars.

Turning Point supporters joined an array of right-wing figureheads, including GB News host Calvin Robinson, during a protest at theHonor Oak pub, in London, during a family-friendly drag event.

The group describes itself as a “conservative activist and political” organisation, claiming it has no formal links to the Conservative Party despite its honorary president being Tory MP Marco Longhi.

Lewisham Deptford MP Vicky Foxcroft explained that the event and many others like it are “friendly, inclusive opportunities for children to hear a story and learn about equality”.

The Labour MP added: “Turning Point UK members, by contrast, seek to intimidate our young people. They share misleading images on social media implying the events are inappropriate.

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“Will the prime minister condemn Turning Point UK’s attempts to spread hatred and division in my constituency and across the country?”

In response, Sunak claimed he was “not aware of the specific allegations” Foxcroft was referring to, while evading any actual mention of Turning Point UK.

“In general, we should treat everybody with respect and understanding,” he added. “People should be allowed to associate freely within the bounds of the law.”

The prime minister then suddenly began to talk about “age-appropriate” materials in classrooms for children.

“As we’ve said, it’s important that the material children are exposed to in classrooms is sensitive and age-appropriate and that’s why we’re reviewing the [relationships and sex education] guidance,” the PM said.

Sunak’s refusal to even acknowledge the right-wing organisation’s actions against the LGBTQ+ community was widely condemned across social media.

Some heavily criticised his response to the question and the sudden shift to discussing an “age-appropriate” curriculum.

“Sunak will not condemn or criticise the transphobic organisation Turning Point UK, I wonder why?” one user wrote.

Another thanked Foxcroft for addressing the “dreadful” rhetoric that the organisation pushes, as well as the “harm they’re causing the local community”.

Both Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have urged the Conservative government to cut its association with Turning Point UK, explaining that it “promotes harmful and regressive ideas”.

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran told PinkNews that the Tories’ association with the group is “deeply concerning”.

The MP for Oxford West and Abingdon added: “Clearly, it is not acceptable for any member of parliament to align themselves with this hate-filled views.”

Labour’s Anneliese Dodds echoed Moran’s statement, saying that it’s “concerning” to see Tory MPs “associating themselves with what looks to most people an awful lot like a far-right group”.