Sacked: Tory MP who backed gay marriage

Tue, 4 Feb 2014

A Conservative MP who supported gay marriage has been de-selected by local Tories in his South Suffolk constituency.

Tim Yeo, a former Conservative minister and an MP for 30 years, lost a secret vote that polled 600 Tory members.

David Cameron had previously backed Yeo, saying he hoped the MP would be selected for the 2015 General Election.

Differences

Yeo had been de-selected by the local party’s executive committee last year, but chose to allow party members to have their say in a private vote.

He is one of only two sitting MPs that have been sacked by local Tories in the past ten years.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Yeo explained the differences of opinion between him and local Tories.

Universally

“Clearly there were some issues on which I may have had disagreements with them.

“I voted in favour of gay marriage, that wasn’t a universally held view among my members; I have a very great commitment to addressing climate change, that’s not a universally held view; I’m in favour of Britain’s membership of the EU, that’s not a universally held view either.”

The Prime Minister had written to the MP saying: “You have served your constituency of South Suffolk for over three decades – a record of which you can be enormously proud.

“I very much hope that you will be selected to stand as the Conservative representative in this seat again.”

Vote

Yeo has been an environment minister, as well as serving in the Home Office, Foreign Office and Department of Health.

He was one of 127 Conservatives who voted in favour of same-sex marriage in February last year – 136 Tories opposed the plan.

Later today in Scotland, MSPs will vote for the final time on plans to redefine marriage, with opponents calling for improved safeguards in the legislation.

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