‘No mandate’: More Tories quit over gay marriage

Conservative chairmen in Surrey and Gloucestershire have become the latest to resign over the Party’s highly controversial push for same-sex marriage.

One of the men even said he may never vote Conservative again because of the issue.

Michael Keenan and Alan Bensted, who are both leaving positions as chairmen of local Tory associations, said there was no mandate to redefine the institution.

Hard decision

Mr Bensted, who was chairman of local Tories in the Forest of Dean, said: “This is a much bigger constitutional issue than the Prime Minister realises. There is no mandate.

“I know there are a lot of people of all political parties in the Forest of Dean who think this is a pointless use of Parliamentary time.”

In East Surrey Michael Keenan told local newspaper the Tandridge Mirror that he did not want to resign, but could not personally go along with the change.

He said: “It has been a very hard decision for me to take and not one that I have taken lightly.

Don’t agree

“I am stepping down over the gay marriage issue. I do not agree with the Conservative position behind it.

“I take the view that marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

He also commented: “I hate to say it, but unless more connection is made to the general public on this and views are listened to, then I probably won’t be voting Conservative again.

Manifesto

“I did not want to take this step, but I feel that it is not right. I am not against what people choose to do with their lives, but I do think that for me, personally, it is not right.”

And Mr Keenan, who will stand down as East Surrey Conservative Association chairman next month, said: “This has made me question my allegiance to the party.

“There was no Conservative manifesto on the matter and it did not appear anywhere in the Queen’s speech either.

“I think this being voted through has taken me by surprise and I hope that the PM knows this is setting a dangerous precedent for future bills.”

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