Southwark Elects LGBTQ+ Campaigner as Leader of the Opposition

The Southwark Liberal Democrats elected LGBTQ+ campaigner Councillor Victor Chamberlain as their new group leader on Monday night.

Councillor Chamberlain is now Southwark Council’s leader of the opposition after his predecessor Councillor Hamish McCallum stood down from the position.

Southwark’s new group leader is an active LGBTQ+ campaigner. He fought to save famous gay bar XXL and helped secure a new LGTBQ+ community centre in in its place at Bankside Yards.

Councillor Chamberlain also campaigned to award British diver Tom Daley the Freedom of the Borough for Southwark.

Victor Chamberlain previously held the role of vice-chair on the council’s main scrutiny body, the overview and scrutiny committee (OSC).

As vice-chair of OSC, he challenged the police borough commander on high levels of LGBTQ+ hate crimes in Southwark and called for the council to be a beacon employer for the community.

His LGBTQ+ activism recently led to him confronting a member of Southwark Council’s Labour cabinet, Cllr Radha Burgess, regarding her views on transgender rights.

He later requested that the Labour council leader clarify his group’s view on transgender rights, but Cllr Chamberlain had no response from party head Cllr Kieron Williams.

Cllr Chamberlain intends to table a motion on transgender solidarity at Southwark’s July Council Assembly meeting.

Councillor  Victor Chamberlain, Southwark Liberal Democrat Group Leader said:

I am immensely proud to have this fantastic opportunity to lead Southwark’s hard-working and talented group of Liberal Democrat councillors after the May local elections. Southwark is a liberal borough that contains a high proportion of LGBTQ+ people. We have an incredible chance with a powerful body and employer like Southwark Council to champion LGBTQ+ rights.

Nonetheless, I am worried that the Labour administration is unwilling to match my ambitions. It has ignored my requests to clarify its views on transgender people following concerning comments made by one of its members. Transgender people are under enormous attack and I am keen that we strive to support them or any other community suffering similar pressures.

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