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Brussels loses patience with Harriet Harman over UK gay employment discrimination

December 15, 2009 2:18 PM

The European Commission is threatening the UK government with a European court order and possible fine for breaching EU employment equality laws, by giving faith organisations wide latitude to discriminate against lesbian, gay and bisexual employees on grounds of religiously-motivated prejudice. Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman and London MEP Sarah Ludford said: "I have been campaigning on poor British implementation of European equality measures for a decade, ever since I became an MEP. The UK government has failed to make clear that religious freedom of thought must end at the point that it becomes unlawful discrimination against gay staff."

"It is extraordinary that Harriet Harman's new Equality Bill does nothing to remedy this continued illegal discrimination, which would have warded off Brussels action. Her bill indeed seems to be more about gestures than real change."

"It is dismaying to see the UK threatened with infringement proceedings as these should and could have been avoided, but in the context the European Commission's use of its watchdog powers is thoroughly welcome."