Tory leader David Cameron challenged to commit to gay rights
As the Conservative Party Conference gets underway in Manchester, party leader David Cameron has been called on to prove his commitment to gay rights.
In the last few years, Cameron has stepped up efforts to appeal to the gay community and it was claimed in May that outreach to gay groups was one of his top five priorities.
In February this year, he claimed his support for civil partnerships is proof the party backs gay rights.
However, gay rights activist Peter Tatchell has said that Cameron and his party are “all talk and no action” on gay rights.
He said: “The Conservatives will never be taken seriously as defenders of gay human rights unless they promise concrete policies for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. We don’t know what a Tory government would do because David Cameron offers only vague generalities, not policy specifics.”
Tatchell called for the Conservative Party to make clear its stance on issues such as the blood donation ban for gay men, the ban on gay marriage and opt-outs for faith schools on teaching sex education.
He also cited the party’s controversial alliance with some European parties such as the Polish Law and Justice Party, Dutch Christian Union and Latvian Fatherland and Freedom Party.
Cameron left the centre-right EPP grouping in June to fulfill a pledge he made during his leadership campaign in 2005.
Much of Labour foreign secretary David Miliband’s conference speech was dedicated to the new grouping.
Miliband’s comments that the move was “sick” and that the party was run by “a bunch of schoolboys” were met with Tory anger, while a statement condemned his remarks as “a disgraceful smear”.