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Nick Clegg warns Tories against backing down on equal marriage

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  1. I have always thought that the Lib Dems would draw a line in the sand over equal marriage and be prepared to see the collapse of the coalition for this matter.

    1. Craig Nelson 23 May 2012, 11:46am

      Nick’s comments are v welcome but rather late and this vacuum has given the opportunity for many prominent Tories to come out against the proposal.

      I get the feeling the Lib Dems are preparing the ground to pull out of the govt at some stage over a number of issues including this one. Going to be interesting.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 23 May 2012, 1:33pm

        I agree. I support a pull-out by the Lib Dems and maybe that will bring the Tories to their senses by supporting equal marriage. Those nasty backbenchers and cabinet MPs will be the ones responsible for bringing it about which will spell a guaranteed defeat for them and giving a landslide victory fo Labour in 2015. Bring it on, Nick.

      2. Rather late? Nick Clegg has been supporting equal marriage for years – particularly notable in February 2010 in his interview on this very website.

        Of course, if the Labour Party were to join the Lib Dems and Greens in adopting equal marriage as party policy, that would help put pressure on the Tories, but both Tory and Labour MPs have spoken out against it now.

        1. Stop playing your violin claiming that Labour do not support equal marriage when it is patently clear to anyone with any sense of objectivity can see that they do and will when it comes to a vote.

          How many major spokespersons for the Labour Party have said they support equal marriage? ALL OF THEM

          Which party has the most MPs supporting equal marriage according to the C4EM research? Labour.

          Its disingenuous to suggest that Labour do not support marriage.

          Of course, Clegg has consistently supporting equal marriage and that is a great thing.

          However, he should have stood up to the extremists in the Tory party on other issues and this one with more vehemence and credibility before now.

          1. Labour MPs may well support it when it comes to a vote. I hope they do. But AFAIK it’s not been adopted as party policy, after it failed to get debated at their party conference in autumn 2010. I’m sure if it had been adopted as party policy either by a conference or their National Executive Committee, we’d hear all about it. And I’d really like that to be true.

            I know this may seem strange to you, but I’m not claiming Labour don’t support equal marriage. I’m trying to get as much pressure as possible put on those who oppose equal marriage from those who support it, and Labour adopting it as party policy would be a step towards that.

          2. Dave

            Labour clearly do support equal marriage. Any objective observer would see that.

            The conference decision on policy is not essential in every case – although I concede that for various reasons, one of which is the support to the campaign for equal marriage, it would be beneficial. There are examples of decisions both in govt and opposition where conference acceptance is not essential for policy.

            I can see what you are trying to achieve – but my perception of what you are doing is trying to paint Labour as a homophobic party and not supportive of equal marriage due to a procedural technicality. I can see you do not intend to cause this perception – but nonetheless you do. Perhaps a better method might be pointing out where Labour (and other parties) do support. In achieving a vote Labour and Lib Dems are particularly crucial along with the 41 Tories committed to it (and ideally more) and using methods to encourage Labour to be more visible on the issue.

            There is no

          3. conference till the autumn. It would be useful to try and be persuasive in a positive manner when nothing can be achieved on this technicality right now, rather than appearing unnecessarily negative.

            Hope thats taken in the spirit its intended.

    2. There’s been no signs of Cameron backing down over gay marriage, it’s still looking to go through. Nick’s just trying to claw back some of his damaged image but at this point it’s too little too late.

      Political oppurtunism aside, his sentiment is appreciated.

      1. Its important to put the right wing extremists in their place.

        Clegg should have done so earlier on other matters, but he is doing it now.

        I strongly believe this is a line in the sand and the right wing and theocratic elements of the Tory party should take this as a warning or their clinging on to power may last a lot shorter than they envisage (which in reality will be 2015 at the latest).

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 23 May 2012, 3:36pm

          I only hope the right wing elements construe it as a line in the sand but I very much doubt it. They’re hell-bent on seeing this fail. If Clegg threatened to pull out of the coalition, then perhaps that might have a very sobering effect on the trouble-makers and agitators in the party. It would be their worst nightmare with the prospect of an election sooner rather than in 2015, knowing they will lose. The Tory party will be committing political suicide if it fails to deliver on this one.

        2. You are so desperate for this to be abandoned you have convinced yourself that your rhetoric is true and have ignored what the government (including the members of the government who do not support equal marriage) are saying.

          No one in power is saying that proposals on equal marriage will not be brought to the house of commons. Downing Street make it perfectly clear that they will bring forward legislation for equal marriage.

          The PM’s advisor has made it clear he supprots equal marriage and intents to vote for it.

          In realtiy to achieve success only 39 Tory MPs need to vote in favour and 42 have publically disclosed they intend to support it.

          Clearly your bigotry and intolerance (and lies) are part of history – the wrong side of it!

  2. Thank You Nick Clegg for your support

  3. Just a tiny editorial tweak required I think

    “Conor Marron, a co-founder of the C4M”??? :P

    1. Still no editorial tweak yet!

    2. Just to spell it out: it’s supposed to say C4EM.

  4. Why do they need to consult on “how”?

    How hard is it? Just open up the marriage laws to same-sex couples. It’s not like you need to rebuild the laws from the ground up. Just expand what’s alread there

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 23 May 2012, 2:53pm

      One would have thought that since the foes of equal marriage believe CPs are equal although many of them don’t even want those either, then surely the groundwork for equal marriage has already been done. The consultation wasn’t really necessary in my view. You’re right, all that needs to be done is expand civil marriage to include gay people, simple. The only people it will affect are gays.

    2. More to the point why do they need to vote. Well pissed people voting on my equal rights.

      1. I agree, Stephanie.

        However, the simple fact is we do not have those rights currently. The only process to bring legal recognition is to change the law. To change the law requires a parliamentary vote.

        A vote that will be won in favour of equal marriage.

  5. Thank you Nick.

    The Tory backbenchers never fail to amaze do they!
    That’s why they are on the backbench.

  6. Well done Nick Clegg…why don’t you join forces with the labour MPs Plaid cymru , SNP and liberal Tories and write your own private bill and sod the consultation and the sod the 500,000 negative replies you’re going to get from the consultation from the C4M brigade.

    I can just imagine now what the anti gay marriage people are going to say once the consultation is over ie that the majority of respondents didn’t want it and the anti brigade are going to play up to that.

    As for why all the lib dems and labour MPs aren’t showing their full support yet and telling C4EM it’s beyond me. What are they waiting for?

    1. I can’t see any way for a Private Member’s Bill on this to pass.

      There are not the votes in the Commons for a private bill – support, maybe, but votes, no. The Cons who sympathise with equality are also the pro-Dave Cons who will be very reluctant to go against the govt; if the govt drops this, those MPs will abstain or vote against a private bill. And there are Labour opponents of equality – a few might jump at the chance to embarrass the govt., but there are a good number of convinced Labour antis. All bar 1, maybe 2 of the NI representatives will vote against. And the situation in the Lords is worse. I wish it weren’t so, but it’s the government or nothing in this Parliament. Anything else is doomed.

      In fact, even if the govt brings forward legislation, we could still lose if they permit a free vote (good politics for them). Labour would almost certainly give a free vote too. I think the numbers will be very close.

      1. Private Member Bills sometimes get government support …

      2. bobbleobble 23 May 2012, 12:23pm

        They wouldn’t get a private members bill through you’re right. Not least because they couldn’t use the Parliament Act to force a private members bill through the Lords.

        You’re right about Northern Ireland too although it should be noted that 5 of the MPs are Sinn Fein and won’t be voting because they don’t take up their seats. Unfortunately the SNP won’t be voting on the matter either because they don’t vote on anything which is purely English and Welsh.

        Still I think you’re being pessimistic about our chances if the legislation actually comes to a vote. My only worry is that Cameron won’t bring it to a vote because a lot of Tory MPs will vote against thus embarrassing him.

        1. I think it is pessimistic to say it will not get through the commons (and parliament).

          In terms of commons very few labour MPs will not support (less than 10%) in my view. Very very few Lib Dems will not support (perhaps only 1 or 2). Those Lib Dems and labour who do not support will predominantly abstain rather than vote against. Sinn Fein and SNP will abstain. So with a majority of 320 in the Commons required to secure victory (adjusted to allow for Sinn Fein and SNP abstentions). Then if my estimates are right then with the adjusted Labour/Lib Dem support it would only require 39 Conservatives, Greens, Plaid Cyrmu, Respect, Indep, Speakers etc (provided every MP votes).

          It doesnt seem as insurmountable a problem as some might paint it.

          It seems to me more of the right wing being desperate to try and pretend securing equal marriage is impossible, when they realise their opposition is hopeless.

          1. According to C4EM figures 41 Tories openly state they support equal marriage.

            If they all vote in favour, and all but 1 or 2 Lib Dems vote in favour, and 90% of Labour MPs vote in favour then its carried.

            That makes no allowance for the support of Green, Indep, Plaid and other MPs or for Tories that do not publically wish to declare their hand.

            We need to keep up the campaign and ramp up the message – but the bigots like Paterson, Dorries, McCartney and Gale are out of touch, have no hope of success and are on the wrong side.

      3. I think a private members bill would start the ball rolling and hopefully the govt will pick it up…at the moment there is talk about kicking the whole idea into the long grass and if another yr goes by before it gets into the Queen’s speech and if the economy gets even worse or if DC comes under attack from the right then I don’t see the govt doing anything with gay marriage.

        I’m only going on the number of supporters/non supporters (ie 167 to 46 at the moment on the C4EM website) but I don’t see why it should get thru the commons. A big proportion of the 46 antis are are DUP anyway and 1 SNP has at least supported it and why wouldn’t they since if they don’t get gay marriage down here then any gay marriage from Scotland won’t be recognised.

        1. The SNP have a policy that their MPs in Westminster don’t vote on any policy that doesn’t cover Scotland. Besides the SNP Scottish Government haven’t yet decided if they’re going ahead with marriage equality in Scotland so it’s not a forgone conclusion that the SNP will support it in England & Wales. Remember, only 1 of 6 SNP MPs voted for equality legislation in 2006/2007 and Angus McNeil actually voted against it.

          1. I doubt we will need SNP votes to achieve a win in the Commons on equal marriage – of course if they wanted to vote in favour of human rights, it would be welcome.

          2. @Stu

            No, SNP votes won’t be required in the event of a vote in Westminster. I was just pointing out to james that they don’t vote on English-only legislation (and I assume this even though it’s for Wales too). I also wanted to point out that since we still don’t know if the SNP Govt in Scotland is going ahead with it, we can’t know if the SNP MPs would vote for it if they didn’t have their no vote on English legislation policy, especially given their poor voting record on the UK-wide equality legislation in 2007 (I think it was then).

          3. Sorry, it was john I was replying to, not james!

          4. Fair enough, BennieM

            I think SNP will vote in Scotland for fairness and equality by ensuring equal marriage happens. (I know you are anxious they may not – I strongly believe that is misplaced anxiety, although I understand why you have this feeling).

            If I thought the vote was going to be precarious in England & Wales, then I would be suggesting that we should be encouraging SNP MPs to vote in favour in the Westminster vote – to show their hand and to support equality and fairness. I don’t think their support is necessary – although it would be welcomed.

            I do hope and believe they will vote in favour in Holyrood though!

          5. @Stu

            I think you’re right that if it does get to a vote in Holyrood, then it will pass (Westminster too for that matter). I even believe most SNP MSPs would vote for it, with the exception of half a dozen or so.

            My worry is that Salmond will decide not to proceed with next month, which is only a small worry, but there is a chance that could happen.

            As for Westminster and the SNP, I was just pointing out to john that the SNP don’t really factor in when he was adding up the numbers and he seemed to assume they’d vote for it.

            The thing is, it’s not just LGBT matters which I don’t trust the SNP on. There’s other stuff going on in Scotland which gives me cause for concern like the recent change in FOI Commissioner and the wiping of records of the previous commissioner, or the appointment of Elish Angiolini as the MInisterial Complaints adviser.

            You might like to check out this website, Stu, it’s VERY interesting.


          6. @BennieM

            Looks an interesting blog – lots to read but I will dip in and out over the next few days – Thanks.

            The FOI comments sound concerning – particularly the deletion of historical data.

          7. Yes it’s an interesting blog which I came across while looking up stuff about the SNP – I always like to make sure I’ve got my facts rigth before I start to make claims!

            Obviously I can’t be sure if this blog is unbiased, but it seems to be accurate from it’s reporting of stuff I’ve also heard about in mainstream media. It’s the other stuff this blog reports that the mainstream media don’t which is most interesting, though!

            I’m also really concerned about the changes in the FOI Commissioner in Scotland. I don’t know if the wiping of records did go ahead or is going ahead, but it was talked about, apparently. The Commissioner who’s just left the post was critical of the SNP on quite a few occasions and the woman who’s replaced him was herself criticised by him in her previous post for not adhering to FOI rules/laws. So it doesn’t look good, whether it will work out or not. That’s why I’m so critical of the SNP, it’s not only about LGBT issues.

  7. How long will it be before the Tories realise that the reason they did so bad in the recent local elections has nothing to do with the equal marriage debate?

    Government can work and legislate on more than one thing at a time and the sooner this law is changed in favour of equal marriage the better!

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 23 May 2012, 3:30pm

      D.McCabe, I so wish Nick Clegg would have raised that point regarding the reasons why the Tory suffered heavy losses in the elections. All we hear is negativity coming from the backbenchers as if they’re the voice of their party and the nation. Something really needs to be done to address that. Cameron won’t do it but someone else should, maybe George Osborne.

  8. Go Nick! Making marriage equality happen is extremely important for the future of the LibDems. Although many people recognise that David Cameron, and other individual Tories such as Francis Maude, are personally committed to the move, it is the LibDem party machine that is the powerhouse behind it happening during the current parliament. If they let it slip as they did tuition fees then I fear that another pillar of their core support (i.e., us) will crumble. It’s good to see Cleggover being proactive in making sure that this doesn’t happen.

    1. Don’t forget the support by straight allies for equal marriage: all those who have family or friends who are gay or trans – none of us want special civil marriage rights.
      If Dave’s support were to wobble the Tories lose all credibility.

  9. Robert in S. Kensington 23 May 2012, 11:57am

    We all know what the reason was for the loses in the recent elections, it was the economy. Using equal marriage is just a red herring to give ammunition to the opposition and to justify the 500,000 C4M signatures as representative of the UK population.

    Clegg should have stepped in at the outset of the consultation, but I thank him for at least speaking up. The conservatives are going to lose with or without equal marriage and if they can’t understand that, then they deserve what they get. Alienating gay voters by backing out will only seal their fate. Clegg knows it and I’m sure so does Cameron.

  10. “The more conservative of Tories have asked for Lib Dem policies such as equal marriage and House of Lords reform to be shelved, urging the government to focus instead on the economy.”

    I pity any government that is unable to cope with doing more than one thing at a time.

    1. I dread to think how legislators would cope with an emergency cabinet in the UK in the event of war, terrorist attack etc (last August’s government impotence at the time of the riots might be a clue!) if they can not cope with having more than one objective as a government!

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 23 May 2012, 12:19pm

      Even if there were no economic woes, those same nasty bigoted Tories would still vote against equal marriage. Bigots are very creative when it comes to finding an excuse. They just don’t like us let’s face it and they even have to lie about that too by pretending they support equality as long as it’s not marriage. It seems that remants of the Section 28 supporters are still contaminating the Tory party, an image these bigots are perpetuating to the detriment of any future election success. I don’t see them gaining any more gay votes in 2015 and they won’t be getting mine..

    3. Perhaps we should close down those government departments that have no impact on the economy because the economic difficulties are too pressing:

      Registrars of Marriages and Deaths
      HM Coroner
      Child Protection
      Ecclesiastical Courts
      Mental Health Services
      Prison Service
      Sports Centres
      Health Promotion

      If we can only do one thing at a time, perhaps we should disband them

      Now I guess Nadine Dorries, Paterson and the liike would say such closures were unnecessary and wrong – now do they see the fallacy of their argument?

      1. Perhaps if we want to concentrate on the economy – we should disband the military

  11. Robert in S. Kensington 23 May 2012, 7:18pm

    As previously stated in a PN article….”The Catholic Voices poll merely suggested up to 70% of Britons might be opposed to marriage equality, it didn’t say they were, and that was a Catholic poll. Doubts have been cast however both as to the number and validity of signatures on C4M, and the methodology of the Catholic Voices poll, especially as every other poll conducted in the last three years have suggested that a majority of Britons support equal marriage.”

    Those polls whose methodology has been accounted for measured support by between and 61-65% of Britons in favour., the organisation that conducted the poll on behalf of Catholic Voices, currently under investigation by ASA, has been prohibited by its client from providing any information in regard to their methodology which leaves one to conclude that it and C4M both very much have something to hide.

  12. Pick and choose you polls

    61% of UK Chrsitians support full equal rights for LGBT people including marriage

    In a poll commissioner by a tabloid paper 1 week ago 60% of UK people supported equal marriage.

    You’ve lost – but you are in denial – and its so funny! *Points* *laughs*

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 23 May 2012, 8:12pm

      Quite right, Stu. If these trolls were winning, they wouldn’t be coming here. The fact that they do suggests desperation. I wonder where they will go once we win because life will be so unbearable for them in the UK? There are several destinations I highly recommend, i.e. Russia, Latvia, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Uganda where they would find they have much in common.

      1. As I said on another story recently, Robert, if all of the countries debating equal marriage succeed in bringing it forward there will be 54 nations with equal marriage within a few years.

        Thats a fact ignorant and deluded trolls don’t like to admit to.

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 23 May 2012, 8:41pm

          Absolutely, Stu. Equal marriage is unstoppable and that’s why the trolls are having a hissy fit. They know they’re losing the cultural war, in fact they have lost, hence their desperate attempts to skew the facts and doctor them with misinformation to give the impression they are winning. Facts are very hard for these people to acknowledge. The truth always hurts.

        2. I remember a few months ago one of them Aiden, Keith, Ken – I forget which (they all morph into one at one time or another) said when I asked them if they had evidence to support their claims – they said evidence was not important. Clearly, these people are of the view that opinion, speculation and bias is more important than facts, evidence, the truth and fairness.

  13. Keith Farrell 23 May 2012, 7:43pm

    I think if the Tories change their mind about equal rights, then they might as well close up shop because the labor Party will use that to win the next election by a landslide, the Tories will never recover

  14. @Aiden – you’ve said you’ve signed the petition before, but there was no “Aiden Russell” amongst the signatures. You weren’t entirely truthful about you’re Twitter pic, and for someone who is so keen on the BFP, it is very odd you don’t appear on their membership list.

    Begins to look as though you’re a serial fibber. Are all homophobic racists liars, or just the ones in the closet ?

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 23 May 2012, 8:48pm

      True, Harry. I wouldn’t mind betting some of the signatures on the C4M petition are from outside the country too. It’s not difficult to sign with a fictiious name and bogus address with all the resources available on the internet. it’s also easy for people with several computers to sign several times over using a fake name too. I suspect that’s the reason, among others, why C4M refuses to divulge its methodology in gathering signatures. 527,500 signatures is miniscule, less than 0.08% of the population. There would need to be at least 33% to have any significance, or 20 million more. Not going to happen.

  15. Meantime, the campaign in New Zealand gets down to a bit of straight (as it were) talk:

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 23 May 2012, 8:58pm

      Love it, Rehan. Thanks for posting.

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 23 May 2012, 9:36pm

          That’s a really good one, Stu, thoroughly enjoyed it. I love the Aussies!

      1. Glad you do Robert, it’s good isn’t it? We could do with a bit of that approach over here.

  16. There are lots of things a self-proclaimed liberal like Clegg should hate about the Tories.

    The trebling of university tuition fees, the privatisation of teaching, schools, the police forces and the NHS, the slashing of the 50p rate, the steady encroachment on civil liberties, the abuse of the disabled by Atos work capability assessments and monstrous care homes, the dismal failure of their token legislation to regulate the financial markets (as can be seen by the $2 billion loss at JP Morgan as a direct result of bad derivatives trading at their unit in London) the resumption of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain

    But what does Nick Clegg do to differentiate himself from one of the worst UK governments in history? He defends gay marriage against a handful of Tory backbencher cranks and an imagined temptation on the part of David Cameron to u-turn on it as if he would need to placate said handful of old, washed-out cranks.

  17. Well Done Nick Clegg. How about doing an @Out4Marriage vid? Always knew the Lib Dems were worth backing.

  18. “70% want to keep marriage as it is, and over 230,000 (including me) have signed the national petition for marriage.”#

    Funny how the so called 70% you claim (whihc no poll or study shows) only translates into a handful of signatures, isn’t it? Wonder why you needed to bully children to sign it then….. curious.

    You delusion is quite fascinating, isn’t it Aiden?

  19. Its great to hear all these ministers coming out in favour.

    I am very irritated about the bias of this bit of BBC reporting though, which only mentions the prime minister as being “for” and a “number of ministers” being “against”:

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 24 May 2012, 6:06pm

      It’s because the BBC is run by a catholic. How many in the upper echelons at the ‘beeb’ have come out for marriage? NOT ONE! It has never been that supportive of LGBT issues and isn’t likely to change. Makes one wonder why we pay for a licence, certainly not getting our moneysworth.

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