Carrie Johnson has said her husband, the Prime Minister, is “completely committed” to protecting the gains of the LGBT+ community and extending them further.
She defended Boris Johnson’s track record on LGBT+ rights, with the Prime Minister often criticised over his use of the slur “tank-topped bum boys” to refer to gay men in a newspaper column.
The “bum boy” quote dates back to a 1998 Telegraph column about the gay MP Peter Mandelson’s resignation from the New Labour cabinet.
Here it is, in full, in its original context.
“Weep, O ye shirt-makers of Jermyn Street, ye Cool Brittania tailors and whatever exists of human finer feeling,” Johnson wrote.
“In the Ministry of Sound, the tank-topped bum boys blub into their Pils.
But Mrs Johnson praised her husband’s efforts and highlighted Conservative activists’ role in modernising the party as she gave a speech at a pride event on the fringes of the Tory conference in Manchester on Tuesday.
“Whether you are LGBT+ or an ally like me we are all committed to equality and acceptance for everyone whoever you are and whoever you love,” she told a crowded room in the Midland Hotel.
“There are still those who tell me that being LGBT+ and a Tory is somehow incompatible, well, looking around me tonight, we can see that is blatantly untrue.
“Many of you here tonight have helped play a part in the journey our party has taken on gay rights and we can now say with huge pride that it was a Conservative prime minister who delivered equal marriage in England and Wales.
“I want you all to know that we now have a Prime Minister who is completely committed to accepting those gains and extending them further.”
“Good”, replied a member of the audience, before Mrs Johnson went on to praise the Prime Minister’s record on LGBT+ rights.
“Boris also wanted me to remind you that as mayor he led the pride parade wearing a rather fetching pink stetson, which I think we should encourage him to do again,” Mrs Johnson added to laughter.