Charles Tannock MEP sought to defend his party's record on gay rights last night but his own history of opposing equalities legislation has come under scrutiny.
Charles Tannock MEP sought to defend his party’s record on gay rights last night but his own history of opposing equalities legislation has come under scrutiny. Tannock was interviewed by Jon Snow on Channel 4 News about the withdrawal of Ben Summerskill, head of the gay rights charity Stonewall, from a Pride event at Conservative Party conference. Tannock said:
“I know as a fact, I used to be the councillor for Earl’s Court ward where there’s a quite a significant gay community, that they voted overwhelmingly Conservative and re-elected me not only as a councillor but then as an MEP for London and I’ve done a lot of things to help them. So the Tory party is fully committed to a tolerant society of equal opportunities and helping them in every imaginable way.”
Watch Cashman on Channel 4 News (4’41”):
But Tory MEPs including Tannock have repeatedly voted against an extension of gay rights including:
- last month Tannock voted against a ‘motion of resolution’ condemning a law in Lithuania comparable to Section 28.
- in April this year, Tannock abstained in the final vote on establishing a horizontal equality directive. British MEPs, Martin Callanan, Daniel Hannan and Roger Helmer voted against the motion. The directive outlaws discrimination in providing equal treatment on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
- Tannock and Conservative MEP colleagues voted against a key report that would combat any form of discrimination in the provision of goods and services, including on the grounds of sexual orientation.
- in June 2006, Tannock and other Tory MEPs refused to support a resolution condemning homophobic and racist violence.
Michael Cashman MEP speaking exclusively to Left Foot Forward said, “Equality measures have to be adopted by the Member States unanimously. On the basis of the Tory voting record here in the European Parliament, it is clear that a Tory Government would use its veto and prevent Equality legislation ever seeing the bright light of day.”Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.