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Sunak apologises for historical treatment of LGBT people serving in military

The apology followed a recommendation from an independent review.

The Prime Minister has apologised for the ‘horrific’ historic treatment of LGBT people who served in the armed forces (PA)

(PA Wire)

The Prime Minister has apologised for the “horrific” historical treatment of LGBT people who served in the armed forces.

The apology was made after a recommendation from a Government-commissioned independent review into the service and experience of LGBT veterans who served in the armed forces between 1967 and 2000.

The review, carried out by Lord Etherton, former master of the rolls and head of civil justice, was published on Wednesday.

Lord Etherton’s report said: “I recommend that the Prime Minister should deliver an apology in the UK Parliament on behalf of the nation to all those LGBT service personnel who served under and suffered from the ban (whether or not they were dismissed or discharged).”

Rishi Sunak told the Commons: “The ban on LGBT people serving in our military until the year 2000 was an appalling failure of the British state decades behind the law of this land.

“As today’s report makes clear, in that period many endured the most horrific sexual abuse and violence, homophobic bullying and harassment, all while bravely serving this country.

“Today, on behalf of the British state, I apologise.”

He added: “I hope all those affected will be able to feel proud parts of the veteran community that has done so much to keep our country safe.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said his party was “proud to repeal the ban” on LGBT personnel serving in the forces when it was in office.

“Today, we strongly welcome this apology from the Prime Minister as a recognition of their historic mistreatment,” he said.

The report also recommended an “appropriate financial award” should be made to veterans affected by the pre-2000 ban on homosexuality in the armed forces.

It said: “An appropriate financial award should be made to affected veterans notwithstanding the expiry of litigation time limits.

“The Government’s overall exposure should be capped at £50 million.”


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