There is no evidence to suggest Theresa May said this about lesbianism

Published: 10th May 2019

In brief


Theresa May once said “curbing the promotion of lesbianism in Merton's schools starts with girls having male role models in their lives.”


There is no evidence she ever said this.

A picture of Theresa May from the 1980s, accompanied by the quote "curbing the promotion of lesbianism in Merton's schools starts with girls having male role models in their lives" has been shared nearly a thousand times on Facebook. 

But there is no source for the quote, and we have found no evidence that Theresa May ever said it. Google search results suggest the quote did not appear on the internet prior to June 2017.

The quote references Merton, where Mrs May served as a councillor from 1986 to 1994. When the image was first shared on social media in 2017, BuzzFeed News reported that a spokesperson for the Conservative party said it was false, and the editor of local newspaper the Wimbledon Guardian (often suggested as the original source of the quote) was unable to trace it.

However, as the Wimbledon Guardian’s archives are incomplete, it’s impossible to definitively say that the quote did not come from there.

Labour’s Diane Abbott also shared, and then deleted the image in 2017. The image had previously appeared across social media.

As noted by BuzzFeed, the photo of Mrs May is from 1992, when she first stood for parliament in North West Durham, but several versions of the quote claim she said it in 1988, when section 28 of the Local Government Act, an amendment banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools, was being passed. 

This article is part of our work factchecking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as mixture because there is no evidence to suggest Mrs May said this quote.


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