A member of the House of Lords who used his Roman Catholic faith to frustrate his own party’s gay rights legislation has died.
Lord Stallard of St Pancras was 86. He was known throughout his career as Jock, a reference to his upbringing in Lanarkshire, Scotland.
A left-wing presence on the Labour benches, he was first elected to represent St Pancras North at the 1970 general election.
Just four years, when the party returned to government, Albert Stallard became a PPS to a minister of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and was quickly promoted to minister for housing and construction. He also served as a whip.
After being passed over for selection for a re-drawn seat of Holborn and St Pancras in 1983 in favour of younger Labour candidate Frank Dobson, Stallard was appointed to the House of Lords.
There he opposed compulsory sex education in schools, the 1990 Embryology bill and along with many peers of his generation, felt homophobia was not just acceptable but the teachings of his religion.
A devout Roman Catholic, during debates in the Lords on the equalisation of the age of consent in 2000 he compared homosexuality to child abuse and attacked the Blair government for threatening to impose the will of the Commons on the Lords by way of the Parliament Act.
“The one thing I cannot come to terms with is the concept that homosexuality must be equated with heterosexuality and that homosexual couples must be equated with married couples,” he said.
“That is not the case and … the heterosexual relationship must be emphasised.
“That is the basis of the society that I know and the basis of the society that I espouse and one that I shall continue to espouse.”
He also admitted during the same debate:
“I have to accept that I come from a different world, background, education, environment and beliefs from some of my younger friends.
“Now there is a much wider gap between the generations than was ever the case in the past.
“Those of us who still hold firm to Christian morals and beliefs find it difficult suddenly to overthrow them and become so lackadaisical of anything that is decent.
“That seems to be the conduct of the new generation–the “www dot com” thing.”
Lord Stallard is survived by his wife Sheila and two children.
Click here to read more of the House of Lords debate on the equalisation of the age of consent in 2000.