Labour MEP Michael Cashman has warned the gay community against immediately trusting the Conservative’s pro-gay image.
Tory leader David Cameron used this week’s party conference in Bournemouth to praise civil partnerships and stopping homophobic lyrics in music, but Mr Cashman claims Mr Cameron should be judged on his actions rather than his words.
The former EastEnder told PinkNews.co.uk: “The Conservatives are trying hard to create this image, but we must judge them by their actions and not their warm words.”
Mr Cameron has aimed to modernise his party since becoming leader, this has included targeting more gay and lesbian candidates and shedding its previously homophobic image.
But Mr Cashman says the party still has a lot to prove and criticises Conservative MEPs for failing to vote against a recent EU resolution on homophobic violence.
Last June, the European Union passed a resolution to combat homophobia on the continent which would see sentences handed down for homophobic, anti Semitic, and Islamophobic offences.
However, Conservative MEPs voted against the resolution as part of their EPP-ED group because of its wording, Patrick Gaubert said: “The EU is founded on a community based on indivisible and universal rights of human dignity, freedom and solidarity. We see on daily basis that struggle against intolerance is far from over. It is upsetting to have to recall that racism is unacceptable in our societies. As Members of Parliament we must firm and roundly condemn it.”
He said that governments should adopt the framework decision on racism and xenophobia. He regretted, however, that Parliament was missing an opportunity to speak with one voice on these issues. This was not a left or right wing struggle, he said, adding that he understood why his group had not signed the joint resolution.
Mr Cashman demanded an explanation for these actions, he said: “Cameron needs to explain how the actions of his MEPs match the rhetoric of his new cosy Conservatives.”
Mr Cameron recently provided a statement to PinkNews.co.uk encouraging the gay community to consider the Conservative Party, he said: “We want the gay community to look at us and hear what we have to say so that they can decide if we look and sound like their kind of party.
“We are an open and inclusive party and we are passionate about acting to ensure that at every level, we are representative of modern Britain.”
Timothy Kirkhope, leader of the Conservatives in Europe said at this week’s conference that the party would be pushing for change in the European Union as part of their new group Movement for European Reform to be formed next year.