UK Politics

Liberal Democratic Party: The Tories’ voting record on gay rights

Press Release   •   Feb 18, 2010 08:09 GMT

In a speech today, Conservative Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Spokesperson, Nick Herbert will claim that: ‘For the modern Conservative Party, embracing gay equality is neither a temporary phenomenon, nor an agenda which can be reversed.’

However, Liberal Democrat analysis of the voting record of Conservative MPs standing for re-election next year, including the Shadow Cabinet, has revealed the gulf between Nick Herbert’s words and his party’s actions when it comes to gay rights.

The voting records of current Conservative MPs who are standing again next year show that:

  • One in six, voted in favour of Section 28 in 1988. A sixth voted against its repeal in 2003 including David Cameron and a third of the Shadow Cabinet
  • One in ten voted against dropping the age of consent for gay men from 21 to 18 in 1994

  • Almost one in five, voted against the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill in 1999 which aimed to reduce the age at which anal sex was legal from 18 to 16

  • One in three voted to allow only heterosexual, married couples to adopt in 2002 including seven members of the Shadow Cabinet

  • One in three voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations in March 2007 which allows the Secretary of State to make regulations defining discrimination and harassment on grounds of sexual orientation.  This included thirty-three, or a third of frontbenchers and four of the Shadow Cabinet

  • The Conservative Party opposed The Equality Bill 2008-09. Nineteen members of the Shadow Cabinet joined attempts to block the bill which will introduce a single 'public duty' requiring all publicly-funded bodies to proactively promote equality across the board and remove barriers to fair service provision