Touchy-feely peers in Cameron’s friendly new Tory party fail to back gay rights

In last night’s vote on the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland), 41 Tory Peers, including 10 front-bench spokespeople, voted against the key legislation. No Liberal Democrat Peers voted against the Act.

Lorely Burt has put out a press release in which she says:

“David Cameron calls himself a liberal conservative, but his colleagues in the House of Lords clearly are not.  The high number of senior Tories voting against these essential measures shows the true face of the so-called ‘modern’ Conservative party. The Conservatives remain a deeply reactionary element of British politics. When action was needed to protect the rights of gay people, the Tory party was found wanting.”

Amen to that. These are not just old fuddy-duddy back-bench dinosaurs, either. Ten Tory front-benchers voted with the religious lobby, and only two Tory front-benchers voted to protect the law as it stood.

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15 Comments

  • Can understand why all this gay stuff would interest you

  • If you want to see the real Tory party in all it’s ‘glory’ look at the responses to Lord Mackie’s article on ConservativeHome yesterday (http://conservativehome.blogs.com/torydiary/2007/01/lord_mackay_wri.html).

    Liberal – I think not!!

    By the way Rob – we know you’re one of THEM … but I thought you were proud of coming from up North.

  • “41 Tory Peers”

    actually I think there were 42 Tory Peers voting to support DUP motion (not that it changes the substance)

  • What did Lord Beaumont do? He’s the Greens only Peer after he switch. He doesn’t have a good record on voting on equalities.

  • anon, he was absent

  • So the Green Party’s only Peer didn’t turn up (again) on a key gay rights issue. So much for the Greens claiming to be the voice of the LGBT community. This should be exposed.

  • it's a two-horse race - the Lib Dems can't win here 10th Jan '07 - 10:08pm

    Do we have a list on how peers voted?

  • Balkiadin Balkibil 10th Jan '07 - 10:23pm

    How Tory politicians vote, and what they get up to in private, are often very much at odds. The late Lord Lambton, for instance, introduced a private member’s bill to outlaw pornography. And John Major was pursuing a clandestine liaison with Edwina Curry while trumpeting “back to basics”. One dreads to think what guilty secrets these 42 peers must harbour!

  • it's a two-horse race - the Lib Dems can't win here 10th Jan '07 - 10:59pm

    Many thanks Andrea

  • Balkiadin Balkibil 11th Jan '07 - 6:44pm

    Oh, sorry – I forgot to mention the late Duncan Sandys MP. Sandys was an archetypal Tory. So far to the authoritarian, neo-Hegelian right he made Norman Tebbit look like a liberal. It was Sandys who presented the million signature petition demanding the restoration of capital punishment. It was Sandys who lamented the loss of Empire and the collapse of hierarchy, the lower orders falling out of love with their “betters”. Yes, you would think the man was a paragon of virtue. Yet Sandys was the infamous “headless man” in the Duchess or Argyll divorce case!

    And while we’re at it, how about the Right Reverend Peter Ball, one time Bishop of Gloucester? Ball’s career was ended when he was convicted of indecent assault on a trainee, 17 year-old monk (who sold his story to the “News of the World” – “Evil Bishop Ruined My Life”). Yet Ball was a Trustee of the Thatcher Foundation, a sanctimonious Christian telling the rest of us how to live!

    That’s Tories for you!

  • Religious organisations are scaremongering
    11th Jan 2007

    Green Party condemns moves to delay goods and services equality and welcomes House of Lords vote

    Should a lesbian pupil be expelled from a faith school because of her sexuality? Is it right that a faith-run homeless hostel can stop housing someone because they’re gay?

    The answer to both of these questions is ‘yes’ if the Government waters down new legislation.

    The Government is putting regulations before Parliament which will make it illegal for the providers of goods and services to discriminate against lesbian and gay people. However there has been a huge campaign led by religious organizations to water down the regulations.

    Yesterday a protest was organised by religious organisations to coincide with a debate in the House of Lords on the regulations passed in Northern Ireland in December. The debate was led by Lord Morrow who wants to eliminate the regulations, which will come into force throughout the rest of the UK later this year.

    The planned legal protection offered by the new regulations is being vociferously challenged by Christian, Judaist and Muslim fundamentalists who want exemptions for religious organisations to continue to treat the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) communities like second-class citizens.

    In real terms if these exceptions are enacted they could allow, for example, faith schools to expel LGB pupils or faith-based homeless charities to forbid access to LGB homeless people.

    Welcoming the House of Lords’ decisive rejection, last night, of the move to suspend the Northern Ireland regulations, Phelim Mac Cafferty a gay Green Party activist in Brighton and Hove , commented: “Some of the protesters include ‘The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowhip’, which is against the outlawing of harassment against gay people; another is the ‘Christian Concern for our Nation’ which does not view homosexual relationships as equal to heterosexual ones.

    “They want to hold onto the right to discriminate against LGB people and it’s simply unacceptable that these organisations could now hold the Government to ransom over the long-promised equality for the LGB communities.”

    “This is not about forcing religious organisations to comply to any way of thinking, rather it establishes that the protections that those very organisations have in law are granted to the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities too.”

    “The Green Party condemns any moves to water down the goods, facilities and services regulations. We call on the Government to now stand up to the bigots and make these regulations law.”

    ENDS

    Notes: i. The regulations are due to be implemented for the rest of the UK in the coming months. ii. For further information, please contact Nigel Tart National Spokesperson for the Green LGBT Group on 07929271977 or Phelim Mac Cafferty on 07765 474 621 or Geoffrey Bowden Brighton and Hove Green Party Press Officer on 07958 682 683.

    Greening the Economy

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  • Councillor Mark Morris 12th Jan '07 - 1:21am

    References have been made to how the sole Green Peer voted (or didn’t vote!) on this issue.

    A quick look at Lords Hansard on http://www.parliament.uk shows that their sole representative in the House of Lords did not vote on this issue.

    However, the top story on the Green Party website is nonetheless about the Housee of Lords vote. At the bottom of their press release they even include a reference to Lord Beaumount. If they are so committed on this issue and want to tell everyone he is their sole representative in the House of Lords, why can’t they ensure he votes according to their national statements? If they are so committed to this issue do they not understand that there is a connection between public statements and actual votes?

    The fact that their sole Peer couldn’t be bothered to vote, but nonetheless they issue a national press release stating how strongly they feel about this issue does beggar belief.

    The press release from the Green Party follows:

    Religious organisations are scaremongering
    11th Jan 2007

    Green Party condemns moves to delay goods and services equality and welcomes House of Lords vote

    Should a lesbian pupil be expelled from a faith school because of her sexuality? Is it right that a faith-run homeless hostel can stop housing someone because they’re gay?

    The answer to both of these questions is ‘yes’ if the Government waters down new legislation.

    The Government is putting regulations before Parliament which will make it illegal for the providers of goods and services to discriminate against lesbian and gay people. However there has been a huge campaign led by religious organizations to water down the regulations.

    Yesterday a protest was organised by religious organisations to coincide with a debate in the House of Lords on the regulations passed in Northern Ireland in December. The debate was led by Lord Morrow who wants to eliminate the regulations, which will come into force throughout the rest of the UK later this year.

    The planned legal protection offered by the new regulations is being vociferously challenged by Christian, Judaist and Muslim fundamentalists who want exemptions for religious organisations to continue to treat the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) communities like second-class citizens.

    In real terms if these exceptions are enacted they could allow, for example, faith schools to expel LGB pupils or faith-based homeless charities to forbid access to LGB homeless people.

    Welcoming the House of Lords’ decisive rejection, last night, of the move to suspend the Northern Ireland regulations, Phelim Mac Cafferty a gay Green Party activist in Brighton and Hove , commented: “Some of the protesters include ‘The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowhip’, which is against the outlawing of harassment against gay people; another is the ‘Christian Concern for our Nation’ which does not view homosexual relationships as equal to heterosexual ones.

    “They want to hold onto the right to discriminate against LGB people and it’s simply unacceptable that these organisations could now hold the Government to ransom over the long-promised equality for the LGB communities.”

    “This is not about forcing religious organisations to comply to any way of thinking, rather it establishes that the protections that those very organisations have in law are granted to the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities too.”

    “The Green Party condemns any moves to water down the goods, facilities and services regulations. We call on the Government to now stand up to the bigots and make these regulations law.”

    ENDS

    Notes: i. The regulations are due to be implemented for the rest of the UK in the coming months. ii. For further information, please contact Nigel Tart National Spokesperson for the Green LGBT Group on 07929271977 or Phelim Mac Cafferty on 07765 474 621 or Geoffrey Bowden Brighton and Hove Green Party Press Officer on 07958 682 683.

    Greening the Economy

    Learning for Life

    Health and Wellbeing

    Reliable, Inclusive Transport

    Peace, Justice and Security

    Home and Community

    Food We Can Trust

    Clean Green Energy

    Animal Rights

    By the People, For the People

    More issues …

    European Parliament members

    Jean Lambert MEP

    Caroline Lucas MEP

    London Assembly members

    Jenny Jones AM

    Darren Johnson AM

    Green Party peer

    Tim Beaumont

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