ORGANISERS of Portsmouth Pride say they are surprised at the appointment of Caroline Dinenage as equalities minister.
Gosport MP Ms Dinenage was announced in the role by prime minister David Cameron yesterday.
The role is advertised by the government as having overall responsibility for policy on sexual orientation and transgender equality and is responsible for cross-government equality strategy and legislation. But Stephen Coote, multimedia editor of Portsmouth Pride, which supports lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people, said it was an odd appointment as Ms Dinenage voted against the same-sex marriage bill in 2013. Mr Coote said: ‘It is a surprising choice. I’m not sure David Cameron would have even considered who voted for what when he made the decision but it would be interesting to see what her thoughts would be on new legislation which might come in.
‘Issues around transgender people are getting worse and what about bullying in schools and the support students get?
‘I’d be interested to hear her thoughts on that.’
Ms Dinenage said she was pleased the same-sex marriage bill had been passed and her vote was only reflecting her constituents views. ‘I voted that way not because of my own opinion but because but it was that of my constituents,’ she said.
‘I had hundreds of letters and that was the opinion put through to me.
‘I always promised I’d be a champion for Gosport in Westminster so I had a duty to reflect those views.
‘I’m pleased the bill passed and it’s now my job to take equality forward.
‘As well as equality, I have a role as a justice minister. It’s a great challenge and huge honour.’
Ms Dinenage was joined as a minister by husband Mark Lancaster. He joined the Ministry of Defence covering personnel, welfare and veterans.