In a nutshell
A combination of two votes on the general principle of the Gender Recognition Bill.
The Gender Recognition Bill permitted transsexuals to change their legal birth sex by obtaining a ‘gender recognition certificate’. The holders of a ‘gender recognition certificate’ were granted many legal rights, including the right to marry in their assumed sex – a man could legally become a woman and then marry another man.
A vote on the Second Reading or the Third Reading of a Bill is a vote on the Bill in principle. Therefore, combined together, the votes cast on the Second and Third Readings show an MP’s position on the Gender Recognition Bill in principle.
On the 23rd February 2004 MPs voted on the on the general principle of the Gender Recognition Bill at its Second Reading. MPs voted for the Bill by 337 votes to 28.On the 25th May 2004 MPs again voted on the general principle of the Gender Recognition Bill at its Third Reading. MPs voted by 357 to 48 for the Bill.
Conservative MPs had liberty to vote according to their conscience. Labour and the Liberal Democrats whipped their MPs to support the Bill. No Labour or Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the Bill.
The Bill applied to the whole of the UK.
How we recorded the vote
- Voted for the Gender Recognition Bill
- Voted against the Gender Recognition Bill
- Abstained or was absent on the votes for the Second and Third Readings of the Gender Recognition Bill
- Abstained deliberately on the vote for the Third Reading of the Gender Recognition Bill
Andrew Murrison (Westbury) abstained or was absent for the Second Reading vote, but in the vote on Third Reading deliberately voted on both sides in order to register an abstention.
An MP’s most recent vote has been taken to be their current position. So for an MP who cast a different vote at Third Reading to their vote at Second Reading, we have used the most recent vote, that of the Third Reading.
For example, John Randall voted for the Second Reading of the Bill, but against the Third Reading of the Bill. Our statement of his position gives his vote on Third Reading. Thus John Randall has the designation Voted against the Gender Recognition Bill.
For MPs who abstained or were absent on Third Reading, their vote on Second Reading is taken to be their current position.
For example, Douglas Alexander was abstained or was absent on Third Reading of the Bill, but voted for the Bill at Second Reading. Our statement of his position gives his vote on Second Reading. Thus Douglas Alexander has the designation Voted for the Gender Recognition Bill.