Cameron slams Grayling on B&B owners. But Grayling refuses to regret his remarks and a Tory PPC has reiterated his opposition to equalising the age of consent.
Chris Grayling today refused to say that he regretted his comments that “a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from a hotel”. Speaking on BBC’s ‘The Debate Programme’, Grayling said only that he regretted “causing confusion”. He claimed he was “talking about debates from some years ago” despite previously saying he “always took the view” about B&B owners. But his leader, David Cameron, has said “he shouldn’t have said it” on a BBC show to be broadcast tomorrow evening.
Watch Grayling on The Debate Programme:
Speaking on ‘Dermot Meets‘, to be broadcast tomorrow evening on BBC3, David Cameron will say:
“Well what [Grayling] said was wrong and he shouldn’t have said it, but I mean the thing is he did actually vote the right way, in terms of the vote on the equality regulations, which was all about saying to business you cannot discriminate against people on the basis of their sexuality.
“I mean the truth is that, you know the Conservative Party now accepts wholeheartedly the equality agenda for people whether you’re black or white or straight or gay, man or woman, really important, that’s the bedrock of our manifesto.”
But new research from My Gay Vote shows the Conservative party’s Parliamentary voting record on gay rights trails the Liberal Democrats and Labour by a factor of four to one. On five key votes just 27 per cent of Conservative MPs supported extensions in gay rights. By contrast, almost all Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs voted for the legislation. Indeed, just 6 per cent of Conservative MPs voted to allow gay couples to adopt. Rate My Tory has more.
Meanwhile Conservative candidate, Julian Lewis, an MP for New Forest East since 1997, is reported to have made a number of homophobic remarks at a hustings event yesterday. Activist Andrew Tindall tweeted: “just spent an hour listening to the scaremongering of a corrupt, paranoid homophobe – Julian Lewis, New Forest East CON MP/PPC.” By email, Tindall told me:
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“Questioned on his gay rights votes, he continued his claims that homosexuality/anal sex alone poses risk of HIV/AIDS, and that is why he still opposes gay sex at 16. Someone put it to him that it is no more dangerous than any sexual activity, to which he insisted on proof, but when asked to do the same – over 10 years after he already made up his mind – he said he didn’t have figures and it would have to be a project to find them.
“He then made a comparison that gay sex is as big a health risk as joining the army, and that they don’t let people join the army until the age of majority, so why should gay sex be allowed at 16 if joining the army isn’t.”