Britain’s Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt delivers a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the opening day of the annual Conservative Party Conference. (PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty)
The Conservative Party’s LGBTQ+ group is facing criticism after it named Penny Mordaunt as its “ally of the year”.
Mordaunt was once seen as one of the Tories’ most vocal LGBTQ+ allies, but burned bridges when she spoke out against “trans orthodoxy” while running for party leader earlier this year.
Despite that, Mordaunt was named “ally of the year” by LGBT+ Conservatives at the party’s conference in Birmingham on Monday (3 October).
In her acceptance speech, Mordaunt praised the UK for its “strong track record” on LGBTQ+ rights – however, she said there was “still a lot to do” such as tackling hate crime and healthcare.
Mordaunt told LGBT+ Conservatives that prime minister Liz Truss is “listening” and that she will do “a really good job on all these policy areas”.
Closing out her speech, Mordaunt urged LGBTQ+ Tories to “stay brave” for people all around the world who look to the UK as “a beacon for freedom”.
Penny Mordaunt ‘threw trans people under the bus’
The announcement by LGBT+ Conservatives was met with widespread criticism, with many condemning the group for recognising Mordaunt after she spoke out agains trans rights.
Is she the one that said ‘I challenged the trans orthodoxy with real and genuine concern’.
And you say she’s your best lgbt ally? You have just confirmed to most lgbt why the Tory Govt and @LGBTCons can never be trusted.
— UnicornsRock 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@UnicornsRockUK) October 4, 2022
Unfortunately not an Ally to the trans community. Even the transphobic gender critical movement called her out for her U turn during her bid for leadership. A willingness to throw a minority group under the bus for personal gain ? That ISN’T allyship
— Sandy 💜💙❤ 🏳️🌈 Ally She/Her (@sullivansa1) October 3, 2022
This is embarrassing. During her failed leadership challenge she threw Trans people under the bus for nothing. Yuck.
— TransHealthNow (@DadTrans) October 3, 2022
Wow. Just wow. What exactly did she do to receive this accolade as she certainly has not been an ally to the trans community who she trod all over to try and win the leadership race. This Penny Mordaunt pic.twitter.com/Q2y1Sjsbrf
— Avril Clark 🧜♀️ 🌈🏳️🌈🛡 (@LirvaC) October 3, 2022
Penny Mordaunt? The person who threw trans and non-binary people under the bus during her leadership campaign… that Penny? You really ought to be ashamed of yourselves @LGBTCons https://t.co/qQiX9MwseE
— Rob McDowall AMRSPH FRSA (@robmcd85) October 3, 2022
Shortly after announcing her bid for the Tory leadership, Mordaunt, who now serves as leader of the House of Commons, sparked backlash as she sought to answer the question “do I know what a woman is?” on Twitter.
A controversial Twitter thread saw Mordaunt stress her view that trans women are different to “biological women”.
Mordaunt sought to recast her time as women and equalities minister, saying that she “challenged the trans orthodoxy with real and genuine concern” while in the role, and spoke out against trans women in sport.
Shortly afterwards, she said in an appearance on LBC that she “never supported self-ID” for trans people, and that she disagreed with the “clamour” to separate gender recognition “out from healthcare”.
Mordaunt was equalities minister under Theresa May, during the period where reforming and demedicalising the Gender Recognition Act was government policy.
Her words came as a disappointment to many LGBTQ+ people who saw Mordaunt as their only hope for a progressive Conservative leader.
Prior to her leadership bid, Mordaunt was seen as a vocal LGBTQ+ ally who took part in Pride marches, won a PinkNews award, and even proclaimed that trans women are women and trans men are men in the House of Commons.
Her efforts to distance herself from the LGBTQ+ community failed on all fronts – she lost the support of the LGBTQ+ community, and her apparent flip-flopping was seized upon by right-wing critics including the Daily Mail.
At the official launch of her leadership campaign, Mordaunt was asked about her stance on the “war on woke”.
“Well I think we should be taking about the cost of living, I think we should talk about healthcare,” Mordaunt replied.
“But let me deal with the issue that is floating in the background there.
“I think it was Margaret Thatcher that said every prime minister needs a willy. A woman like me doesn’t have one.”