Married MP Stephen Crabb, who opposed gay weddings, quits government in wake of sexting scandal
Failed Tory leadership candidate Stephen Crabb has resigned from government in the wake of a sexting scandal.
The Work and Pensions Secretary had been one of five candidates vying to replace David Cameron as PM, but lost out to then-Home Secretary Theresa May, who took power this week.
The married politician, who voted against same-sex marriage legislation for England and Wales in 2013 and also opposed LGBT anti-discrimination protections in 2007, was embroiled in a sexting scandal last week.
It was revealed that the MP, who put an emphasis on family during his failed campaign for the Tory leadership, told a woman via Whatsapp messages that he wanted to kiss her “everywhere”, asking her to call him. Mr Crabb had proposed that he perform a sex act on the woman.
As Theresa May reshuffles her top team today, Mr Crabb has opted to resign from the government front bench.
The politician said he was stepping down “in the best interests of my family”.
At time of publication, his replacement has not been confirmed.
During the campaign, Mr Crabb had faced questions about his ties to the Christian Action Research and Education (CARE), an anti-LGBT evangelical organisation which advocates ‘gay cure’ therapy.
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Mr Crabb entered politics as an intern for CARE, and his office has also taken interns from the group – though he has disavowed any ‘gay cure’ links.
Speaking to PinkNews after entering the race, Mr Crabb had addressed his record on LGBT issues.
The Tory MP told PinkNews that he had been wrong to oppose marriage equality and equal rights for LGBT people, adding that he does not believe homosexuality is sinful or can be cured.
Asked if he would back protections for a homophobic B&B owner who had turned a gay couple away on religious grounds, he said: “I’m somebody who does take very seriously this issue of protection of religious freedoms. I think we do need to strike a balance of rights in society, but that is one issue where I was wrong.
“I think that anybody who is looking to offer a good or service in the marketplace there should be no grounds for discrimination whatsoever.”
He added that he believed a religious person who refuses to serve someone who identifies as LGBT should be prosecuted “if they persistently show that they have no respect for equality”.