Former head of the navy speaks up for gay rights

Lord West
Lord West

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A FORMER First Sea Lord has said he was ‘shocked and appalled’ at the way gay people were once treated in the armed forces.

The former head of the Royal Navy, Lord Alan West of Spithead, spoke out today as part of a House of Lords Debate on same-sex marriage.

Lord West said in the 1990s he discovered ‘absolutely degrading treatment’ of people in the forces who were suspected of being gay.

‘It was still illegal in the services,’ he said.

‘I was shocked and appalled at how people treated them and what was done.

‘I stopped it immediately and I then pushed very hard to allow them to be 
accepted in the armed forces and thank goodness we did it, because it has worked brilliantly and was a good thing to have done.

‘We have a terrible baggage of how we have treated homosexuals in this country.’

Tonight, the House of Lords overwhelmingly rejected the latest major challenge to the government’s gay marriage proposals.