Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill has denied claims by columnist and political blogger Iain Dale that Stonewall is pursuing a campaign against David Davis.
Iain Dale, who entered into a civil partnership with his long term partner on Sunday, accused the gay rights group Stonewall of:
“Sending round an email slagging off David to various well known people who have publicly supported his stand on 42 days in an attempt to try to paint him in an unflattering light.”
Ben Summerskill told PinkNews.co.uk:
“We have not run a campaign against David Davis.
“We were approached by one high profile individual to show his voting record on gay rights.
“Stonewall has always, in a completely neutral way, published the voting records of MP’s in the run up to an election or by-election.”
Within 24 hours of his civil ceremony Iain Dale posted on his political blog:
“I wasn’t going to post anything until tomorrow, but I am so angry at an attempt by the gay rights group Stonewall to paint David Davis as some sort of anti-gay bigot.”
The rant, which was also featured on the online version of ‘The Spectator’ magazine, may have backfired:
“Within a couple of hours of the piece going online we received over 40 requests from various people wanting to know his voting record,” Mr Summerskill added,
“I think that is it perfectly reasonable that Mr Davis explain why he has voted time and time again against gay rights.”
Iain Dale also accuses the Minister of State in the Department of Health and Minister for the South West Ben Bradshaw of being ‘Stonewall’s puppet’.
“Ben Bradshaw is an openly gay MP, of course he is going to be aware of Mr Davis’ voting record,” remarked Mr Summerskill.
Earlier today Mr Dale updated the blog entry to state:
“Stonewall have been in touch to say an email was sent out to one prominent person who requested information on DD’s voting record on this, but as far as they are aware, not to others.
“However, I am aware of several other high profile people who have received emails along these lines too, albeit not directly from Stonewall.
“I could give you countless examples of proof of David’s support over the years for gay people, starting from when he was at school where he protected a gay pupil from the local bully to helping Michael Brown when he had troubles with the News of the World.”
Since Labour came to power Mr Davis has voted against the equalisation of consent, the abolition of Section 28 and the rights of gay couples to adopt.
Mr Davis was also absent from a more recent gay rights vote when Tory MP’s forced a division in the House of Commons on the Sexual Orientation Regulations.