Tory Chief Whip Simon Hart was last night at the centre of extraordinary claims that he had vowed to ‘crush the religious Right’ amid rows over the conversion therapy ban and the nature of guidance to schools about pupils changing gender.
Mr Hart, who was reported last week to have advised No 10 to push ahead with the conversion therapy move to avoid a party revolt, is said to have made the remark about Tory MPs such as Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates, who are concerned a ban would have ‘unintended consequences’ by inhibiting teachers from counselling pupils who are struggling with their gender.
Multiple sources claim that, at a meeting on upcoming legislation, he declared: ‘My mission is to crush the religious Right in the party’.
But in a trenchant pushback, a source close to Mr Hart told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The claims being made are demonstrably untrue and refer to comments that were never made at meetings that never took place’.
Chief Whip Simon Hart was embroiled in a row over conversion therapy, after he was reported last week to have advised No 10 to go ahead with proposals to ban the practice in order to head off a party revolt
An opponent of the conversion ban claimed Mr Hart was worried about alienating supporters of LGBT rights.
The opponent said: ‘He is the Chief Wet, stifling MPs who dare to have their own ideas. They believe in strong borders, family and community being the bedrock of society, in lower taxes for working people and that our children shouldn’t be mutilating their own bodies to switch gender.’
Mr Hart is understood to have been the only senior Government figure at the LGBT party at Tory conference, where he even helped the barman to mix cocktails.
Minister for Women and Equalities Kemi Badenoch is thought to be supportive of the Bill but also of safeguards to allow for ‘legitimate conversations’ between parents and teachers about a child’s gender
The Chief Whip is said to have issued his revolt warning amid concerns that Tory MPs could join Labour in backing amendments to a planned Crime and Justice Bill to bring in a conversion ban.
Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Women and Equalities, is understood to be supportive of the principle of the Bill but believes in safeguards to protect parents and teachers so they can have ‘legitimate conversations’ with children about gender.
It comes as the Cabinet is also debating guidance for teachers on pupils who are considering transitioning, such as telling them they don’t have to use female terms if they were born male, or use girls’ changing rooms.