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Exclusive: Chris Bryant criticises Tories over support for anti-gay Catholic adoption agencies

Jessica Geen May 1, 2009
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A exclusive

The Openly gay Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Rhonda MP Chris Bryant, has criticised the Conservative party over a poll which suggested that 71 per cent of Tory candidates for the next election support the right of religious adoption agencies to refuse gay couples.

The survey was produced by a Conservative activist body.

David Cameron agreed with the government in forcing Catholic adoption agencies to consider gay couples but allowed his MPs a free vote.

Speaking exclusively to, Mr Bryant, the Labour MP for Rhondda, said: “Behind David Cameron’s gloss lies the true face of the Conservative grassroots.

“What worries me, as I’ve said in the past, is that if we had a Conservative government the people included in this survey would be Cameron’s backbenchers.

“It’s at times like this that little amendments ebbing away at the rights this Labour government has implemented would come about, and the Conservatives would vote for them.

“The right for same-sex couples to adopt and not face any discrimination from agencies with religious ties is an obvious example of something the Conservative Party would want to take away, and this survey shows that a huge majority of wannabe Tory MPs plan on doing just that.

“Voting for these candidates would be voting against equality, while voting Labour ensures a lasting commitment to equality, as you can see in the Equality Bill which was published this week.”

In an interview with Total Politics in February, Mr Cameron spoke of his support for gay rights but added the part still had work to do.

He said: “I stood up in front of a Conservative conference, my first one as leader, and said that marriage was important, and as far as I was concerned it didn’t matter whether it was between a man and a woman, a man and a man or a woman and a woman.

“No other Conservative leader has ever done that. I don’t think any Labour leader has done that. Even since then. The good thing was that they applauded.”

He added: “I totally agree that on some of these issues the Conservative party had some work to do.

“Individually, some of us had some work to do and we needed to do it.

“I am not saying it is done but big progress has been made.”

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