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Champions of LGBT rights among MPs awarded in Jubilee honours list

3 min read

Two champions of LGBT rights in Parliament, Maria Miller and Nia Griffith, are among the MPs being awarded damehoods in the new Jubilee honours list.

Miller, Conservative MP for Basingstoke since 2005 who chaired the Women and Equalities Select Committee for five years after it was first established in 2015, becomes a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

As the minister for women and equalities in the Coalition government, Miller introduced same-sex marriage legislation for England and Wales. The ceremonies were allowed from March 2014, following her successful piloting of the bill through Parliament.

She is joined by Nia Griffith, Labour MP for Llanelli and current shadow minister for international trade who served as shadow secretary for Wales under both Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer, and as shadow defence secretary.

Griffith is a lesbian and was a teacher when Section 28 laws banning the “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities were in place. Named as a leading Welsh LGBT figure, she has worked to promote human rights for women and the LGBT community.

A total of 584 women are recognised in the list, representing 51.5 per cent of those receiving honours. 4.6 per cent of the recipients are LGBT, while 13.3 per cent come from an ethnic minority background.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “This historic Platinum Jubilee is not only a celebration of the monarch but of the qualities she possesses.

“The honours she confers this week reflect many of those qualities that have been invaluable from all different walks of life and to communities across the UK.

“I pay tribute to all of this year’s winners. Their stories of courage and compassion are an inspiration to us all.”

Stephen Timms, Labour MP for East Ham, and Jeremy Wright, Conservative MP for Kenilworth and Southam, are both set to be granted the title of Knight Bachelor.  

Timms is a former cabinet minister who has served in Parliament since 1994 and survived an attempted murder by a terrorist at his constituency surgery in 2010. He is currently the UK’s trade envoy to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee.

Wright was first elected in 2005 and served as attorney general from 2014 to 2018, helping to steer the government through the Brexit negotiations. As culture secretary from 2018 to 2019, he published the Online Harms White Paper.

Tracey Crouch, the Conservative MP known for chairing a fan-led review into football governance, will be awarded a CBE, and Chris Skidmore, the Tory MP for Kingswood, will receive an OBE.

From outside Parliament, Arlene Foster, the former first minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who was the first woman to hold either position, will also be awarded a damehood.

Foster was elected as first minister and DUP leader in 2016, before being removed from office a year later amid the “Cash for Ash” scandal. She then served again from January 2020 to June 2021, until colleagues voiced no confidence in her leadership.

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