Tory gay marriage row
As many as 180 Conservative MPs, including Cabinet ministers and party whips, will not back the Government’s plans to legalise gay marriage, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
A group of Conservative association chairmen are delivering a letter
to the Prime Minister today urging him to reconsider the plan, warning it will cause “significant damage” to the Tories’ 2015 electoral prospects.
The chairmen, who are in Downing Street this lunchtime, are calling for the decision to be delayed until the next Parliament.
Tories have been given a free vote on the bill, which will be debated in Parliament on Tuesday, and Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson, Philip Hammond, and David Jones are among those rumoured to be considering abstaining or voting against the Government.
But senior Conservatives have downplayed the rift within the party today. William Hague said it was for individual MPs to “make their own decisions” on the policy, while confirming that he would vote in favour of the legislation.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Michael Gove has also reassured teachers who refuse to oppose gay marriage that they will not face sanctions, as long as they explain that it is legal.