‘Vocal minority’ of Tories fear equal marriage will alienate volunteers
The chair of the body which represents volunteers in the Conservative Party and a backbench MP have voiced fears that the government’s commitment to marriage equality for gay couples could alienate local activists.
The Chairman of LGBTory said in response there was a “vocal minority” making “almost too much fuss” about the issue.
Emma Pidding, chair of the Conservative National Convention representing volunteers told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme today the policy could jeopardise the party’s chances at the 2015 general election.
She said there were “a few” individuals who feel passionately about the issue.
Ms Pidding today told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “My concern is that we are potentially upsetting our members and activists when I have one goal, and that is to obtain a Conservative majority government in 2015.
“Anything which upsets any of my members, I don’t like to see that.”
Mark Pritchard MP told the programme: “I think in the desire to so-called decontaminate the Conservative brand, there are those that may end up damaging the Conservative brand with our natural supporters and voters in the country, and most importantly our grassroots who support us financially and deliver leaflets day-in, day-out up and down the land. We need those people and we shouldn’t take them for granted.”
Matthew Sephton of LGBTory said opponents were a “vocal minority” adding: “You only have to look at the latest YouGov polls produced in conjunction with Stonewall, where 71% of the general public are shown to support the Government’s commitment to same-sex marriage.”
Within the party, he said it was true there were competing priorities, but that there was “almost too much fuss” being made about equal marriage rights which would be “straightforward to get through”.
He continued: “There are a huge number of LGB activists within the Conservative Party as well, and it is also the case that they shouldn’t be taken for granted too.”
“We have got a vocal minority at the moment, who have perhaps been too vocal, and we who believe in the Government’s priorities need to be more vocal as well.
“At the end of the day, as David Cameron has said, we need to be on the right side of history and I think the Government’s proposals to introduce same-sex marriage will put us on the right side of history.”