Tories hit with further Party losses over gay marriage

Fri, 15 Feb 2013

Local councillors in Northumberland and Warwickshire have quit the Conservative Party over its controversial push to redefine marriage.

In Nuneaton two councillors left the Party, saying there was no mandate for the move.

And in Hexham a respected council figure said he could not “go along with David Cameron and the rest of them” on the issue.

Pushed

Nuneaton councillors Nick and Matt Grant, who are brothers, said they were both elected “on national and local Conservative manifestos that made no reference to ‘same sex marriage’”.

They added that although the House of Lords could reject the proposal, while it is “promoted and pushed by the leader of the party we belong to, we no longer feel we can remain in that party or campaign actively for it”.

They will now be on the council as Independents.

Respect

In Hexham Matty Donnelly has been on the council since 2003 and is a highly admired figure in the town.

He said that while he respected the views of his local MP, who supports redefining marriage, he could not affiliate himself with the plans for same-sex marriage.

Cllr Donnelly’s decision followed last week’s vote in the House of Commons on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Most Conservative MPs failed to back Mr Cameron’s Bill, with the Government having to rely on the opposition to win the vote by 397 to 172.

Resign

Cllr Donnelly said: “I was absolutely astounded at the result of the vote on Tuesday and decided to resign from the Conservative party on the spur.”

He added: “I have tendered my resignation to the party branch and will return as an Independent.

“I have mixed feelings about doing this but I have never been a political person as such. I put people before politics.”

Discord

Last month Tory constituency chairman Edmund Costelloe left the Party, after 49 years, over gay marriage – calling it an “ill-thought-out” idea.

And ahead of the recent vote in the Commons, a group of senior local Tories wrote to the Prime Minister warning about the “growing discord” within the Party over the issue.

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