Theresa May vows to ‘keep fighting’ discrimination… as she does deal with the DUP
Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to “fight discrimination in all its forms”… as she inks a deal with the anti-LGBT Democratic Unionist Party.
The Conservative leader is trying to seal a voting alliance with Northern Ireland’s ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party, in order to gain a majority in the House of Commons.
The Northern Irish party’s stance on equality has been under scrutiny this week, as many of the MPs that Theresa May will be relying on harbour actively homophobic views.
The DUP has blocked all progress on equal marriage in Northern Ireland, and supports the introduction of a ‘conscience clause’ to protect people who discriminate against LGBT people.
But if Mrs May was flustered by continued media coverage of the party’s anti-LGBT stances, she didn’t show it while appearing in the House of Commons today for the election of the Speaker.
Speaking straight after a meeting with DUP leader Arlene Foster, the Prime Minister praised the increased diversity in the chamber, noting the record number of LGB MPs as well as the record number of BME MPs, disabled MPs and female MPs.
She said: “As we welcome new members on all sides, we should celebrate the fact that we have a record number of MPs from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, including a female Sikh MP, we also have more disabled MPs and more LGBT MPs.
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“I hope that together we will continue to build on the progress that we have made in previous Parliaments to fight against discrimination in all its forms, and make our politics more representative of the people we serve.
“While there is further to go, if there is one outcome of the election we can all welcome, it is most surely this: that today we have the most diverse and representative Parliament in our history.”
The Prime Minister has been forced to make assurances to members of her own party on LGBT rights, after prominent interventions from out politicians.
The leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson, who is a lesbian, had spoken out on the issue after telling the Prime Minister that she considers equality to be more important than party politics.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who is also gay, also challenged her on the issue.
“I would like to see the DUP change its position, and indeed Northern Ireland as a whole change its position, on LGBTI issues.
“Ruth Davidson has been very clear on that, she actually went out to Northern Ireland and set that out, so they can’t be in any doubt where they stand on these issues.
“I think change is brought about, certainly in Northern Ireland, by persuasion, by people working together and the best way actually to achieve these is to get the Northern Ireland Assembly back up and running, and I hope that will also be possible.”