To Jennie Rigg, a self-described bisexual polyamourous liberal, Lee’s voting record proves that he was “not a liberal,” and his views on LGBTQ rights, including HIV migrants, were “problematic.”
She described Lee as “a homophobe, a xenophobe and someone who thinks people should be barred from the country if they are ill,” according to the Independent.
“If the party is a home for someone whose views are so diametrically opposed to mine, then it can’t be for me,” Rigg, who was the LGBT+ chair, and who had been a member of the party for 11 years, told i News.
“Given the repeated concerns expressed about this to the powers that be within the party, not just by me, I think this shows that the Lib Dems commitment to LGBT+ rights and anti-xenophobia is far too easily discarded for a quick headline,” she said.
Citing Rigg’s resignation, fellow lib democrat member Sarah Brown, a transgender rights advocate, announced in a long Facebook post that she would do the same.
“This is a man who, in 2014, tabled an amendment that would have refused entry to the country to any migrants who could not prove they were clear of HIV and Hepatitis B,” she wrote.
“The entire thing seems to have been done to get TV coverage of him crossing the chamber and sitting on our benches. Our MPs are willing to burn their own LGBT+ section to the ground for a publicity stunt that’s already fading from the news cycle,” she added.
“That makes me feel absolutely wretched, and there’s no way I could have stumbled through our forthcoming party conference, at which I was supposed to be chairing a couple of sessions, and pretended I was fine with all this. I’m not,” wrote Brown.
I'm very emotional writing this, but today is my last as a Liberal Democrat. The rolling out of the red carpet for Phillip Lee has shown me the party lacks even the most basic of values it espouses in it's constitution. no longer can I support it with either my time or my money.
“I’m very emotional writing this, but today is my last as a Liberal Democrat,” he tweeted. “The rolling out of the red carpet for Phillip Lee has shown me the party lacks even the most basic of values it espouses in its constitution. No longer can I support it with either my time or my money,” he added.
The party didn’t seem too worried with the exodus.
Zoe O’Connell, the acting chair of the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats said in a statement she’s “very troubled by [Lee’s] previous voting record,” and she’s requested an “urgent meeting” with party leaders to discuss LGBT+ caucus concerns.