Kemi Badenoch fought battle with civil servants over controversial gender clinic 

Kemi Badenoch fought battle with civil servants over controversial gender clinic

Kemi Badenoch has told how she had to battle civil servants who supported the controversial Tavistock clinic for children.

The ex-equalities minister and Tory leadership contender said they tried to stop her speaking to former patient Keira Bell, who took legal action against the clinic’s gender identity centre.

It has now been ordered to close by the NHS after a damning review. But Mrs Badenoch said officials had assured her that the clinic was doing a good job despite whistleblowers raising serious concerns.

The ex-equalities minister and Tory leadership contender said they tried to stop her speaking to former patient Keira Bell, who took legal action against the clinic’s gender identity centre

She said this showed the dangers of civil service ‘groupthink’ and that ministers must be brave and face down vested interests. 

‘The truth is some battles have to be fought and won,’ Mrs Badenoch wrote in The Sunday Times.

On becoming equalities minister in 2020, she wanted to meet campaigners on both sides of the debate. 

But officials said it would be ‘inappropriate’ to speak to Miss Bell, who was given puberty-blocking drugs at 16. Mrs Badenoch overruled the advice to hear ‘harrowing’ testimony from the ex-patient.

On her piece for the Sunday Times, Mrs Badenoch wrote: ‘The Whitehall machine often becomes the voice of interest groups in government rather than government’s voice to interest groups,’ the former Tory leadership contender wrote in the Sunday Times.

She said that when she became equalities minister in 2020, the Tavistock's Gender Identity Service (GIDS) for young people was 'presented to me by government officials as a positive medical provision to support children'

She said that when she became equalities minister in 2020, the Tavistock’s Gender Identity Service (GIDS) for young people was ‘presented to me by government officials as a positive medical provision to support children’

‘This stems from a sincere, yet naive, belief that you can appease special interests with platitudes. The truth is some battles have to be fought and won.

‘This requires strengthening a civil service that is terrified of controversy and recalibrating it towards policy and away from posturing on issues it believes as too ‘contentious’.’

She said that when she became equalities minister in 2020, the Tavistock’s Gender Identity Service (GIDS) for young people was ‘presented to me by government officials as a positive medical provision to support children’.

And when she insisted on meeting campaigners on both sides of the debate, her officials tried to stop her speaking to Keira Bell, who was prescribed puberty-blocking drugs by the clinic aged 16 but later regretted transitioning and launched a landmark Judicial Review against the Tavistock.

‘To my surprise, I was advised strongly and repeatedly by civil servants in the department that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to speak to her. I overruled the advice. Along with other advisers across government I met Keira and listened to what she had to say. Her testimony was harrowing and brought many on the Zoom call to tears,’ Mrs Badenoch wrote.

She insisted that not all civil servants are ‘hostile’ but went on: ‘A small minority of activist officials are the tail wagging the dog, often to the dismay of their colleagues and the hand-wringing of far more senior officials.’ 

She accused some mandarins of being ‘too scared to challenge their own staff’.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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