Conservative politician who cheated on wife with 26-year-old aide claims LGBT sex education undermines ‘traditional marriage’
A Conservative politician who made a public apology for allegedly cheating on his wife with a 26-year-old aide has claimed that gay sex education will undermine the family.
Tory MP Steve Double, the Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, signed an open letter this week criticising the government’s plans for LGBT sex and relationship education in schools.
The letter, which was co-signed by a string of anti-LGBT lobbyists, claimed LGBT-inclusive education “undermines freedom” by “introducing very young children to concepts such as homosexuality and transgenderism”.
It claimed that this would be a “coercive and unnecessary measure damaging the position of all parents in England”, and that “traditional marriage” will by undermined by “promoting to children alternative lifestyles against parents’ wishes.”
When it comes to undermining traditional marriage, Mr Double is somewhat of an expert.
The evangelical Christian MP, 50, issued a public apology last year, after a tabloid reported that he allegedly cheated on his wife of 30 years with a married 26-year-old aide.
Mr Double insisted the affair was “only a few weeks” in response to the story.
He said at the time: “I was truly wrong and I deeply regret what I have done and the pain it has caused to those close to me.
“I’m working hard to rebuild that trust and respect.
I have behaved completely inappropriately and deeply regret the pain I have caused.
“Anne and I are committed to being together and seeking to move forward in our marriage. I accept I have work to do to recover the trust and respect of those around me.
“I would respectfully request that people give us the time and space we need at this time.”
The Tory MP unseated gay Lib Dem Steven Gilbert in 2015.
Mr Double, a former pastor, emphasised his commitment to ‘family values’ in his campaign.
The letter was also signed by a rogue’s gallery of anti-LGBT lobbyists, including Andrea Williams of Christian Concern, who has publicly defended gay ‘cure’ therapy.
Also signatories of the letter are Thomas Pascoe of the Coalition for Marriage, Colin Hart of the Christian Institute and Revd Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream – all strong opponents of LGBT rights laws previously.
Controversial newspaper columnist Rod Liddle, who has previously been found in breach of the press regulator’s code through his public bullying of a transgender politician, also signed the letter warning about ‘transgenderism’.
Rod Liddle was rebuked by the press regulator in 2015 after he published a Sun column targeting a Labour Party candidate who is blind and transgender.
The regulator finding against him did little to tone down his outspoken columns, however, with Liddle last year claiming in a Spectator column that gay men’s need to use lube during sex is “God’s way of telling you that what you’re about to do is unnatural and perverse”.
The letter was spearheaded by Tory MP Philip Davies.
A long-time opponent of LGBT rights Philip Davies was last month re-elected to serve on the Parliamentary committee responsible for scrutinising the government’s equalities work.
The MP for Shipley 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.
He has previously complained that same-sex marriage law discriminates against straight people, and has branded inclusive sex education “tyranny”.
Mr Davies is an outspoken critic of the women’s rights movement, and previously faced questions over his ties to the so-called ‘Justice for Men and Boys party’ – which issues awards for “lying feminist of the month”, and affirms on its website that “feminists are whiny, gormless, toxic liars”.
Mr Davies 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’.
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.”
He has previously called for the Women and Equalities Committee to the Equalities Committee to change its name to exclude ‘Women’.
Last year he filibustered an opposition bill to make 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.
In one memorable clash with Ms Phillips in 2015, Mr Davies claimed to “always vote in favour of true equality”.
When she asked him to clarify if he voted for gay marriage, he responded “Look, I don’t agree with gay marriage, why would I vote for something I don’t agree with?”