Throughout his time in the Lords, Alistair Lexden has tried to do what he can to assist the interests of LGBT people.
On 19 July, a report by Lord Etherton, a former Master of the Rolls, was published on the terrible experiences of gay servicemen before 2000 when homosexuality was officially banned in the armed forces after it had ceased to be a criminal offence in civilian life.
Its 270 pages, drawing on the individual stories of former personnel, make shocking, sometimes horrific, reading. Some 20,000 gay people were jailed, dismissed, outed to their families or subjected to abuse, simply because of their sexuality or gender identity.
The report makes 49 recommendations to try to make some amends for what happened.
As the report was published, the Prime Minister made an apology in the Commons for what he described as “an appalling failure of the British state.”
A little later, the issue came up in the Lords. Alistair Lexden said: “Does not the full apology delivered by our Prime Minister today set the scene for the substantial reparation that must be made to LGBT people who served their country with devotion, only to have their lives ruined because of their sexuality.”
His comments continued the following day, 20 July, when the Lords discussed the report more fully. Among other things, he asked: “Will it not be vital for carefully co-ordinated work to be done across government departments to ensure that action in response to the 49 recommendations made by Lord Etherton is successfully completed? Has an implantation team been set up to provide direction and momentum for the necessary work?”
The Government Defence Minister in the Lords provided reassuring answers. A progress report will be made to Parliament in September.