Anti-LGBT Tory challenged over comments about homophobic Muslims
Anti-LGBT MP Philip Davies was challenged in Parliament yesterday, after apparently suggesting most Muslims are homophobic too.
Mr Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley, has previously complained that same-sex marriage law discriminates against straight people, and has branded inclusive sex education “tyranny”.
The MP, who has consistently voted against LGBT equality, was subject to a complaint in the Commons chamber this week during a debate about the Democratic Unionist Party.
The DUP, who are propping up the Conservative government, had come under fire from Labour’s Paula Sherriff over their anti-LGBT views.
When Ms Sherriff cited a DUP MP who has called gay people “repulsive”, Mr Davies heckled her, allegedly shouting that most Muslims would agree.
His comments led to a complaint from the SNP’s Hannah Bardell, who raised the issue with Commons speaker John Bercow.
She said: “On a point of order, Mr Speaker. In your position, you rightly promote a sense of tolerance and inclusion in this Chamber, and you urge all Members to uphold proper integrity.
“During Women and Equalities questions earlier, [Paula Sherriff] raised some questions about comments that some members of the DUP had made in the past about the LGBT community.
“Unfortunately, [Philip Davies] was overheard making derogatory comments from a sedentary position about members of the Muslim community.
“Although he did not make those comments on the record, what can you do to ensure that he does not make such comments again, and that he apologises for the offence caused to anyone in this Chamber or, indeed, in the public domain?”
The Speaker responded: “I did not hear anything said that was in any way unparliamentary, and if I did not hear anything unparliamentary, I cannot be expected to adjudicate on it.
“The Chair, above all, has two key responsibilities in this regard, and there can be a creative tension between them, if truth be told.
“One is to uphold the absolutely critical principle of free speech, and the other is to uphold the principle that debate must be in accordance with our traditions and our conventions—that debate must be seemly.
“I have heard what the hon. Lady has said. I did not hear what was allegedly said, and I am not going to criticise an hon. Member when I did not hear what he is alleged to have said.
“All I would say is that the hon. Member for Shipley is an extremely assiduous attender in the Chamber and a very frequent contributor.
“Sometimes, some of the things that he says will displease other Members—[Interruption.] Order. He is as entitled to his views, within the rules of order, as any other Member.”
Mr Davies is a strong opponent of LGBT rights, voting against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations in 2007 and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in 2013.
Davies has previously suggested that transgender people should be ineligible to serve in the Metropolitan Police.
After the Met launched a recruitment drive in the LGBT community, Davies branded it “nonsense”, saying: “‘I don’t know whether the Royal Family are going to feel that much safer knowing there’s a transgender outside protecting them.”
He used the floor of the House of Commons to attack a secondary school in 2009, after it held an educational LGBT History Month production of ‘Romeo and Julian’.
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Davies fumed: “It is better for pupils to learn about Romeo and Juliet and Shakespeare, rather than politically correct Romeo and Julian.”
Labour’s Harriet Harman helpfully reminded him: “As far as I can remember, in Shakespearean times boys would play girls and girls would play boys, and the whole point was trying to work out which was which.”
Last year he filibustered an opposition bill to make LGBT inclusive sex and relationship education mandatory in schools.
In his controversial speech he claimed that “the culture of political correctness” led to sexual abuse, also linking sex education to a rise in teen pregnancies. He said: “One day everybody will have to conclude that what we need is less sex education, or even better, none… I hope this Bill goes absolutely nowhere.”
The MP is also known for campaigning for recognition for an ‘International Men’s Day and picking arguments with women’s rights campaigners – memorably clashing with feminist Labour MP Jess Philips on a number of occasions.