A row has broken out within the Conservative Party over a decision to host the controversial LGB Alliance at this year’s party conference in Manchester. The organisation – which was recently awarded charity status – says it represents lesbian, gay and bisexual people and argues that there is a conflict between LGB rights and trans rights. ITV News has learnt that the LGB Alliance has paid for a stand in the exhibition hall at Conservative conference, where businesses and charities are able to lobby politicians. The charity is believed to have paid in the region of £6,000 for its place. The Labour Party declined to host the LGB Alliance at its recent conference in Brighton, with trans rights campaigners arguing that the charity is hostile to their cause. Several Conservative members have expressed anger that their party has taken a different approach.
One Conservative peer told ITV News that it was “a terrible misstep”.
Another Conservative member said she “felt sick” at the news. ITV News understands that the LGB Alliance’s stall will be stationed in close proximity to the stand hosting LGBT+ Conservatives – a group which campaigns for trans rights. The former Head of Women at LGBT+ Conservatives, Jessica Zbinden-Webster, told ITV News: "It is disappointing to learn that the LGB Alliance has been offered a prominent stand at the 2021 Conservative Party Conference.
"In my view - a view many other cisgender women share - there is no LGB without the T.
"LGBT+ Conservatives stands in solidarity with trans women and men, as well as our non-binary community.
"It is of the utmost importance that members feel safe, whatever their gender presentation."
But the charity said that others in the Conservative Party had given the LGB Alliance a “warm welcome”. Alliance co-founder Kate Harris told ITV News: “It’s been two years in the making and we are thrilled to have a stand. We want to publicise our cause. We were set up to stand up for respectful freedom of speech.
"We’ve seen slight controversy at the Labour Party conference this year. It’s now getting almost ridiculous as politicians contort themselves into ridiculous positions to defend idiotic ideas. We are hoping to speak to as many people as possible to say there is a plurality of opinion on LGB rights.” The Conservative Party has been approached for a comment.