Peers told MP’s career threatened over marriage vote

MPs are urging Peers to oppose gay marriage, saying threats were made to force MPs to vote in favour of the proposals in the House of Commons.

In a letter signed by 15 MPs, including former children’s minister Tim Loughton and former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth, Peers were told of the “varying degrees of coercion” when it came to the “free vote” in the House of Commons.

The letter said threats were made, “to an MP’s future political career or withdrawal of party support at future elections.”

Constrained

They also said MPs’ ability to amend or scrutinise the gay marriage Bill was “heavily constrained”, with backbench speeches limited to “only 4 minutes” at second reading in the Commons.

The Committee which looked into the details of the Bill was also criticised, as it was delegated to 19 MPs rather than the Whole House, and its membership was stacked 15 to 4 in favour of redefining marriage.

The letter said: “The Committee debates were limited to only 5 days. (By way of comparison, the Standing Committee on the Hunting Bill in 2002 lasted 14 days).”

Accepted

No amendments to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill were accepted by the Government.

The letter, also signed by MP David Burrowes who led the opposition against gay marriage in the Commons, warned MPs that the Government is pressing on “without any mandate from a party manifesto”.

It said: “We are all elected representatives but none of us was elected on a platform to redefine marriage”.

Unpopular

They also said the Bill is deeply unpopular with their constituents.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will be debated and voted on next week in the House of Lords.

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