Tory peer Baroness Stowell: It is impossible to forget something as wrong as Section 28
At the PinkNews debate, Baroness Stowell urged voters to focus on the Conservative party’s recent record on LGBT rights.
Host Evan Davies mentioned “the legacy of great bitterness” about Section 28 and asked Baroness Stowell to what extent voters should forget it when choosing who to vote for.
She replied: “I don’t think it’s possible for people to forget something that was so wrong. I’m glad that David Cameron and others in my party have been so clear that it was wrong and regret the fact Section 28 was there.
“I understand why people still feel so strongly and might want to raise it with the Conservative Party but we have moved on very, very significantly since then and I would judge the Conservatives and David Cameron on what we have done in the last five years. It was a Conservative Prime Minister who led the way on equal marriage and we are doing a lot to support education on homophobic bullying.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure the law is equal for everybody and also that we support everybody to fulfil their potential to be who they are, to live their lives in the way that they feel is right for them.
“I apologise too.”
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper spoke of the “shadow of Section 28”, describing it as a “searing, scarring thing.” She said: “It still affects what happens in schools, and that’s why I think there has been a resistance to properly tackling sex and relationships education. There’s been a hangover of that, of properly dealing with homophobic bullying.”
She agreed that Conservative party had made great progress in recent times, and paid tribute to Baroness Stowell’s efforts in securing same-sex marriage, but said: “The Conservative party still has further to travel.”
Baroness Stowell pointed out that the Conservative Party has more gay and lesbian MPs than all other parties combined, and how proud she was of this.
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett gave her view on how to choose which party to vote for. She said: “I would urge you to look at the manifestos of the parties, but I think it is also worth looking at the history, for what it tells you about the values and the history of where people have been coming from, and where their political philosophy comes from.”
Ms Bennett went on to say: “I’m very proud of the history of the Green party on LGBTIQ issues through the decades.”
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