Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Fact Checking Nick Herbert and the "Gay Friendly" Conservatives

Earlier today Nick Herbert spoke at the Cato Institute on the theme Is there a place for gay people in Conservatism and Conservative politics?

Mr Herbert told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

"I think David Cameron has taken the view that we need to broaden to appeal of the Conservative Party - that you can't be a party that is seeking to appeal to the whole country unless you are properly representative of the whole country.

"And that the position that we had been taking in the past towards gay people had been one that appeared to be hostile and that we were wrong."

So that's the talk but how did they walk the walk.

In 2003 on the Repeal of prohibition on promotion of homosexuality (Section 28) in the Local Government Bill 71 (plus 2 tellers) voted no, only 23 voted along with Labour and the Lib Dems to rescind it. One notable name in the no lobby was the newish MP for Witney David Cameron along with a third of the "current" shadow Cabinet.

The year before in 2002 to allow homosexual couples to adopt, even more 118 (plus 22 tellers) voted against, including that great champion of liberty when he resigned David Davis, William Hague. In total 7 members of the current shadow cabinet, congratulations to Kenneth Clarke and the current Speaker John Bercow 3 of only 7 Tories to vote aye.

In 2007 one third of the current Conservative party in the house 83 (+2) voted against the Equality Act. The act was to allow the Secretary of State to make regulations defining discrimination and harassment on grounds of sexual orientation. Those against included 33 of their front benchers 4 of the Shadow Cabinet, they included Dominic Grieve, but also Eric Pickles and Iain Duncan Smith. Admittedly this time David Cameron did vote for gay rights along with 28 others.

Most recently in 2008-9 the Conservative Party objected to the Equality Bill. In fact 19 members of the Shadow cabinet attempted to block the legislation.

These are not old, historical situations can be put off as the intentions of the party of another age, these are the votes of many who are in the current Conservative team, standing for re-election again this year, people who should be showing loyalty to the leader's grand idea. But they are not, indeed their leader himself hasn't even been fully signed up to the idea over recent years.

Herbert attempted to also say:

"I think this has been a rapid conversion but the change is definite."

Looking at the voting record I'm sure an impartial observer would say where is this conversion?

No comments:

Post a Comment