, 24 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
Apparently ex-Tory MP Phillip Lee was allowed to join the Lib Dems because his desire to ban migrants with HIV from entering the UK was based solely on health grounds. That was the excuse he gave to @amcarmichaelMP - but it doesn't add up.

THREAD.
When Philip Lee proposed mandatory HIV testing for migrants (so they could be banned from entry) it was against the advice of experts.

Amnesty, National Aids Trust, World Health Organisation and Terrance Higgins Trust all said that doing so would be bad for public health.
Here's a couple of links which all make the same point. Mandatory testing is discriminatory, creates stigma, is hit and miss and prevents people from accessing health services, actively increasing the public health risk:

who.int/hiv/pub/arv/tr…

thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/…
HIV is easily treatable these days and hard to catch. A person on medication for it might not even test positive on a standard test, and medication like PrEP PEP can prevent transmission even through unprotected sex. So the only reason to ban immigrants because of it is stigma.
On the other hand, there are diseases like TB which are easily transmitted and hard to treat. Yet for some reason Phillip Lee didn't propose screening migrants for that or any other disease. He was only targeting HIV and Hepatitis.

Hmmmm.
Now I can't know his motivations for sure, but it seems odd that he only singled out diseases that homophobes associate with LGBT people and ignored all other diseases. Given this was in flagrant disregard of all medical expertise on the matter, it seems very fishy.
But back to @amcarmichaelMP. According to a party statement, he's the one who interviewed Phillip Lee and decided that his public health "concerns" were a valid excuse. Even though the World Health Organisation & the Lancet say that Lee's proposals would be bad for public health.
The only organisations that supported Phillip Lee's proposals were UKIP and MigrationWatch (the latter being a hard right "think tank" that's known for blatant lies and distortion of statistics in their press releases).
Nonetheless, after just one 90 minute interview, @amcarmichaelMP, a man with no medical expertise in this area, decided that ignoring the advice of every respectable medical body to support banning migrants with HIV was somehow rooted in reasonable medical concerns.
In doing this he did not consult with LGBT+ Lib Dems (the party's designated statutory associated organisation) who could have drawn attention to the advice from the WHO and others on this issue.

Instead, after one 90 minute interview he just decided to take Phillip Lee's word.
On that basis, Phillip Lee was allowed to join the Lib Dems. The party's statutory associated organisation on this issue (@LGBTLD) was not consulted. The party's Federal Board was not consulted (they were told of the defection just half an hour before it happened).
If any of them *had* been consulted then they could have warned the leadership about the problems with accepting a defector who advocates a UKIP policy on immigration and who has since doubled down on that stance. They could even have advised on what questions to ask Lee.
But instead, the party chose, on the basis of one interview with @amcarmichaelMP, to conclude that Phillip Lee was a pucker Liberal without damaging baggage. And it plowed ahead with the defection.

As a result several good, talented, committed activists have quit the party.
This isn't just an isolated incident either. The entire party leadership has a history of utterly ignoring LGBT+ Lib Dems despite having, under the party constitution, a duty to consult with them.
As a result @LGBTLD has often had to bail the leadership out, at the very last minute, from making serious missteps on policy that would have alienated many many people.

The leadership does NOT have expertise on LGBT topics but it refuses to consult with those who do.
This is partly why Phillip Lee being allowed to join has been the last straw.

It's one thing for the party to consider something carefully & then to make a tough judgement call despite knowing it'll make some people unhappy.

But here it's clear they didn't consider it at all.
They didn't check the facts before hand and they didn't speak to those who could have warned them of the problems it could cause. People offered advice and were ignored.

All because @amcarmichaelMP and @joswinson are sure they know best.
And what have we gained as a result? One dramatic moment with the defection in an entire day of drama and which was completely overshadowed by the government's defeat on Brexit. We got a few hours media coverage from it at best.
But what have we lost?

In most interviews Phillip Lee has had since defecting his views on immigrants with HIV have been brought up. In response he's doubled down on them and threatened to sue Lib Dem members for defamation.
We've also lost many key activists and campaigners. Most notably the Chair of @LGBTLD who was also a key member of the committee that organises party conference.

As a result, Lee's record has been noticed by the media. They're already sniffing around - and this story has legs.
The party has just given our opponents a huge stick to beat us with and thrown LGBT people and allies under the bus in the process. The leadership has just created a negative story that could haunt us for an entire election campaign and has lost valuable people in the process.
And all this for a right wing Tory MP who has almost nothing in common with us other than his stance on Brexit.

That doesn't feel like a worthwhile trade to me.
But that's all fine because @amcarmichaelMP and @joswinson decided that it was all a sacrifice worth making for short term media coverage.

They ignored party rules, they didn't consult with those who could have warned them, and now they've saddled the party with this mess.
Great job folks.

If you wanted a recipe for ensuring this story haunts us for ages then you've managed it through your refusal to listen beforehand and your continued refusal to listen after the fact.

You're driving good people away in exchange for nothing of value.

END.
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