Host civil partnerships in Parliament, says PM

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has today called for gay couples to be allowed to have civil partnership ceremonies inside Parliament.

Watch the Prime Minister’s comments

Currently MPs, Lords and their families can get married and hold christenings in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft inside the Houses of Parliament.

But Mr Brown believes Parliament could be used for civil partnership ceremonies.

The Prime Minister said: “Just as marriages can take place in the House, we hope Mr Speaker will consider that civil ceremonies could take place here.”

Reports say venues including Westminster Hall have been suggested.

Civil partnership registrations are not allowed to be held in religious buildings.

Mr Brown also said that Labour would “increase support for LGBT candidates” at the next general election.

The Prime Minister’s comments were praised by ‘gay rights’ groups.

Richard Angell, of LGBT Labour, told a gay news website: “Gordon Brown is right to ask parliament to open itself up to civil partnerships – it is right that parliament changes with the times.

“Labour is doing more than any other party to support openly LGBT people to become MPs through Dorothy’s List which now has more than £6,000 to support openly LGBT candidates standing for Labour.”

Chief Executive of the ‘gay rights’ group Stonewall, Ben Summerskill said: “This is both welcome and not before time.”

Gordon Brown made the comments at the Speaker’s Conference where MPs were discussing how Parliament could attract more minority groups into Westminster.

The Prime Minister has made a number of moves over the past year to encourage homosexual voters to back Labour.

In July Gordon Brown told the organisers of a gay pride march taking place in London that they had “changed the world”.

Earlier this year he invited the organisers of a controversial month-long drive to teach schoolchildren about homosexuality to a reception at 10 Downing Street.

At the reception he attacked as “unacceptable” a measure reserving marriage for one man and one woman passed by public vote in California.