Lloyds Bank comes under fire for offering free counselling to staff ‘appalled’ by language ‘targeting the trans and non-binary community’ at the Tory party conference
- Banking HR boss appears to accuse ministers of fuelling ‘hate and division’
- READ MORE: Rishi Sunak declares ‘a woman is a woman’ as ‘common sense’
Lloyds Bank was under fire last night after offering free counselling to staff ‘appalled’ by talk from the Conservative Party conference.
The unusually party political move saw the bank offer its 30,000 staff professional help via BUPA if they found themselves concerned by trans rhetoric at the government’s Manchester gathering.
The conference saw trade minister Kemi Badenoch state that she would ‘not apologise for fighting for a society that knows what a woman is,’ while Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appeared to suggest that trans activists were ‘bullying’ people into agreeing with their views.
He told the conference in his keynote speech: ‘Patients should know when hospitals are talking about men or women, and we shouldn’t get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be.
‘They can’t. A man is a man, and a woman is a woman; that’s just common sense.’
Lloyds Bank has reportedly offered its staff counselling if they were affected by remarks made about trans and non-binary people at the Tory party conference (file photo)
Several speeches at the Conservative party conference referenced transgender people including one in which Rishi Sunak said it was ‘common sense’ that ‘a woman is a woman’
Kemi Badenoch (left) told the conference she would not ‘apologise for knowing what a woman is’, while Suella Braverman (right) criticised ‘gender ideology’
In her message to staff, Lloyds HR boss Sarah Underhill told trans and non-binary staff: ‘You are valued. You are welcome here’ (pictured: a ‘new progress’ pride flag including colours for non-binary, transgender and intersex people)
Following the event Sarah Underhill, human resources director at Lloyds – who declares her pronouns are ‘She/Her’ – wrote in an email to employees last Friday: ‘Like many of you, I was appalled to hear the rhetoric coming from the Conservative Party Conference this week, targeting the trans and non-binary community.
‘Hearing language that fuels hate and division is shocking. To all our trans and non-binary colleagues, please know that at Lloyds Banking Group you are not alone. You are valued. You are welcome here.
‘I am aware of the brilliant work undertaken in the last few days by our Trans Working Group and their allies, to mobilise support, offering safe spaces for colleagues affected to talk, to vent and to find allyship and assurance.
READ MORE: Belgium’s transgender deputy PM blasts Rishi Sunak and tells him not to ‘join the bullies’ after his ‘hurtful’ speech about gender issues at Tory conference
‘We have heard powerful examples from colleagues around their anger and fears. This is a moment that matters and I would ask that, as a community, we come together to offer allyship and support to anyone affected.
‘Support is also available via our LGBTQ Mental Health Advocates and through the private medical healthcare available via BUPA. You can also contact Mind Out, our LGBTQ mental health partners.’
Ms Underhill’s remarks, reported by Guido Fawkes, seemingly referred to a series of statements by the Conservative leadership at last week’s conference in Manchester.
Alongside Ms Badenoch and Mr Sunak, Home Secretary Suella Braverman also waded in to the debate by criticising ‘gender ideology’.
And Health Secretary Steve Barclay promised to ban transgender patients from single sex wards.
But Tories are unhappy with Lloyds’ description of the comments as ‘fuelling hate’.
A Conservative source told the Mail: ‘It’s a shame to see such outrageous virtue signalling from one of the UK’s biggest banks.
‘Given the political hot water NatWest got themselves into recently, Lloyds would do well to keep out of politics and stick to serving customers.’
Health secretary Steve Barclay used his party conference speech to announce that he plans to ban transgender patients from single-sex hospital wards
Former Tory minister Sir John Hayes said that using a ‘position of power’ to propagate ‘extreme views’ amounted to ‘exploitation’
Former minister Sir John Hayes weighed in to the row over Ms Underhill’s counselling offer to Lloyds staff, saying: ‘This woman is clearly hugely out of touch, and she now needs to be out of time too.’
Sir John went on: ‘Sometimes when you hear these politically correct horror stories, it’s because people are simply naïve. They think they ought to be saying things, and say them accordingly.
‘But sometimes it’s a sign of someone who has a weird and warped view of the world – and I suspect in this case, someone with just such a view is irresponsibly imposing it on a large number of employees.
‘It’s perfectly permissible in free society to have extreme views, but to use a position of power to propagate those views is a kind of exploitation which requires investigation.
‘I would certainly hope that the Financial Conduct Authority will look at this.’
Lloyds was contacted for comment.
The news came after it emerged that former UKIP leader Nigel Farage had opened a new bank account with Lloyds following his heavily publicised falling out with Coutts earlier this year.
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