UK Veterans Minister Says Homophobia Report Must Not Be Ignored

(Bloomberg) -- A damning report into the homophobic treatment of gay British military personnel shouldn’t be “left on the shelf,” UK veterans minister Johnny Mercer said Tuesday, even as he declined to commit to an apology.

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Ministers received the government-commissioned report, which details electric-shock conversion therapy and other historic abuse of LGBT veterans, more than a month ago. Bloomberg reported last week the government plans to apologize in Parliament this month — along with the publication of the probe’s findings — for the decades-long “culture of homophobia” in the military.

But in an interview with LBC Radio, Mercer declined to commit to an apology, saying only that the government is taking its time to publish the report to “to make sure we get the response right.”

“It’s an incredibly complex subject, you’re dealing with some immense hurt in this space, it’s not something that can easily be done overnight,” said Mercer, a former British Army officer. “We want to make sure that we get this right, I want to do it right, I don’t want it to be a report that’s just left on the shelf.”

The government hasn’t committed to when the report will be published and whether ministers will accept its recommendations, including financial compensation. Terence Etherton, the House of Lords peer who led the probe, described it as “a unique record of what, to the modern eye, is an incomprehensible policy of homophobic bigotry in our armed forces.”

Read More: UK Plans to Apologize for Treatment of Gay Veterans Next Month

Victims have criticized Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government for taking too long to publish the report, which details accounts of intrusive medical examinations and witch-hunts during more than three decades through to 2000, when a ban on LGBT people serving in the military was lifted.

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