Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams MP criticises BBC governors at EuroPride rally

10.19.49am BST (GMT +0100) Tue 4th Jul 2006

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, Stephen Williams MP spoke on Saturday at the EuroPride rally on the subject of homophobic bullying in our schools.

Mr Williams criticised the BBC Governors' decision that deemed the use of the word 'gay' by Chris Moyles to mean 'lame' or 'rubbish' was perfectly acceptable.

Mr Williams said, "I find the assertion astounding that the BBC Governors stated that Mr Moyles 'was not being homophobic in his use of the word.' Perhaps the worst aspect of the Governors' decision was the justification that Chris Moyles was merely using expressions and words which the listeners used themselves."

Mr Williams also criticised government minister Ruth Kelly for refusing to attend today's event. He said, "Ruth Kelly can't go on much longer avoiding making a public statement on her true views on homosexuality. She has a ministerial responsibility to promote equality for everyone."

Stephen Williams has also signed Early Day Motion number 2438, tabled by his Lib Dem colleague Lorely Burt MP, which reads as follows:

That this House expresses concern that the word `gay' has been used by Radio One presenter Chris Moyles to refer to something `lame or rubbish' on air; notes in particular that Chris Moyles' show is heard by up to 6.5 million listeners, many of them young adults and children; recognises that the use of such language in such a context may encourage or legitimise negative attitudes towards homosexuals; further notes that research compiled by Stonewall found that 51 per cent. of gay men and 30 per cent. of lesbians reported being bullied physically and 82 per cent. of respondents stated that they had been subject to name-calling and other forms of humiliation at school; believes that while freedom of speech is always of immense importance, that wherever possible the best way for that freedom to be exercised is in a responsible, sensitive manner and in full knowledge of the possible repercussions; and calls for the BBC to ensure that all its staff are aware of the possible negative consequences that apparent casual homophobia may have.

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