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Swansea MP calls for posthumous apology for ‘breach of gay MI6 worker’s confidence’

25 May 2022 2 minute read
Tonia Antoniazzi. Picture y Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

The Foreign Office breached the confidence of a gay man’s sexuality while he was working for MI6, according to a Labour MP who challenged the Prime Minister to offer a posthumous apology.

Boris Johnson, who was asked about the case at Prime Minister’s Questions, said he was unaware of the events described, but described the case as “concerning” and committed to setting up a meeting with the relevant minister.

MI6 chief Richard Moore issued a public apology last year for the agency’s past treatment of LGBT+ people.

Although same-sex relationships were decriminalised in 1967, a ban on LGBT+ people serving in the intelligence agencies remained until 1991.

Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi (Gower) suggested the man, who she said died last year, suffered as a result of the alleged breach.

In confidence

She said: “My constituent, Robert Walker, sadly died last year. He worked for MI6 and as such disclosed in confidence that he was a gay man. This confidence was breached by the HR department at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“Recently unearthed paperwork showed that this breach largely accounted for his wellbeing (issues) and enforced early retirement.

“Would the Prime Minister offer Bob’s partner, Stephen Honeyman, a posthumous apology and commit to ask the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a formal response to his treatment while he worked at MI6?”

The Prime Minister said he was “grateful” to Ms Antoniazzi for raising the case, but said: “I’m afraid I don’t know directly about the events that she describes.

“What she says is very concerning. I will make sure that she gets a meeting with the relevant minister as soon as possible.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was a Government department between October 1968 and September 2020, when it was merged with the Department for International Development to become the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

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