Defence secretary admits saying gay people in the military would cause 'sexual friction' was 'rubbish'

Ben Wallace was appointed UK defence secretary back in July


Words: Steve Brown

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has admitted he was speaking ‘rubbish’ when he said allowing gay people to serve in the military would cause ‘sexual friction’.

Back in 1999, the Conservative MP and former Scots Guard captain was quoted saying he although he didn’t think gay people are ‘any less capable of facing combat’, the military would be ‘weakened’ by ‘sexual friction’.

Now Wallace – who was appointed defence secretary in July – has backtracked on his comments and has admitted he was ‘probably wrong’ when he said it.

Speaking to Press & Journal, Wallace said: “I think I was probably wrong on that.

“What I would probably say is that the world has moved on, and I think, you know, I’d just say I was wrong on that observation.

“Everyone has a contribution to make, and as I said in that quote there, I don’t think anybody of any orientation is any less capable.

“I think it was done, it had to be managed, the whole change from a deep-rooted culture, and I think I probably was part of that culture.

“I think I’d look back and say, ‘Actually, you know what, what a load of rubbish really’.

“But you know I was part of that culture. Society has moved on. It’s a different world.”

Since 2000, LGBTQ people have been allowed to serve openly in the UK armed forces.