Booker Prize abolishes Baroness Nicholson’s honorary role amid homophobia row

The Booker Prize Foundation has abolished the honorary role belonging to Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne following allegations of homophobia.

The Tory peer, whose late husband Michael Caine helped establish the prize, had been honorary vice president since 2009.

However, the Booker Prize Foundation said it had abolished all honorary roles with immediate effect. The foundation added: “Those holding them have been informed and thanked for their longstanding interest.”

It came after Baroness Nicholson was criticised by LGBT activists for tweeting that she voted against the same-sex marriage bill in 2013 because she believed “it would lead to degrading the status of women and of girls”.

Baroness Nicholson denied allegations of homophobia to the Guardian newspaper, adding she would “very much regret any move to remove me”.

She was also involved in a row with transgender activist Munroe Bergdorf, calling her a “weird creature” on social media.

Bergdorf welcomed the foundation’s decision to do away with Baroness Nicholson’s role and said: “See what happens when we all stand up TOGETHER against bigotry!”

Prior to removing the position of honorary vice president, the Booker Prize had come under increasing pressure to take action against the peer.

Playwright Damian Barr tweeted: “As a gay writer I feel very concerned that a person who is actively and publicly propagating homophobic views holds a position of such power & prestige in your rightly esteemed organisation.”

And Marlon James, who won the Booker Prize in 2015 for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, wrote on Facebook that Baroness Nicholson was a “hate monger”.

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