Tory MP tells BBC Newsnight: Gay marriage is ‘divisive’

Tue, 18 Dec 2012

Redefining marriage is “very divisive”, “ill thought-out” and could have unintended consequences, a Conservative MP has told the BBC Newsnight programme.

Anne McIntosh MP was one of 58 parliamentarians who signed a letter to The Daily Telegraph this week warning against bringing in same-sex marriage.

Speaking last night she raised the issue of the hundreds of thousands of people who have signed the Coalition for Marriage’s petition against the Government’s plans.

Unpopular

Other commentators told of the damaging effects of the same-sex marriage plans, and said that the issue is contentious among local Conservative activists.

Pollster Andrew Hawkins said a majority of the public think the move is “just a PR trick” by David Cameron.

And a prominent Tory blogger who supports same-sex marriage admitted that the omission of the plan in the Party’s manifesto was an issue.

Conservative backbencher Stewart Jackson said MPs are “puzzled” about why the Government is ploughing ahead with redefining marriage at this time.

Controversial

Anne McIntosh, the MP for Thirsk and Malton, warned about the “law of unintended consequences” if marriage is redefined but also noted that she supports civil partnerships.

Geoffrey Vero, the President of Michael Gove’s Surrey Heath Conservative Association said the issue is “highly controversial”.

And James Hollingsworth, the Chairman of the Derbyshire Dales Conservative Association, said same-sex marriage was “probably the most divisive” issue he had ever seen among Party members.

Calamitous

Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, said: “It’s having a dramatic, calamitous effect on activists, as I understand it.

“There are hundreds, thousands of Conservative activists who are saying we’re not going to work for the Party any longer”.

Monday’s letter to The Daily Telegraph saw the parliamentarians criticise the Government for “ignoring the overwhelming public response against the plans”.

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