How truthful is David Cameron on his gay rights voting record?

February 4, 2010 12:00 pm

Author:

Share this Article

CameronBy Alex Smith / @alexsmith1982

Johann Hari has a revealing and “grilling” interview with David Cameron in today’s Independent.

In the interview, Cameron denies he voted against gay adoption and insists he “abstained” on the 2002 vote. Hari writes:

“He says he didn’t know any openly gay people as a child, or even at university. The first openly gay people he met were at the Conservative Research Department, after he had graduated. Perhaps this explains how he formed the attitudes that kept him opposed to gay equality for so long. I start to go over his record beyond Section 28 – and slap into a brick wall. In 2002 he voted against allowing gay couples to adopt. Yet when I ask him why, he flatly denies it. He says: “No… we were three-line-whipped on that vote and I abstained on it.” I point him to Hansard, which records his vote against gay marriage in cold, black ink. He says “my memory” is that he abstained, and that he now thinks “the ideal adoption is finding a mum and a dad, but there will be occasions when gay couples make very good adoptive parents. So I support gay adoption.”

But despite Cameron’s denial, it’s clear from the records that he did not abstain from voting in the first two instances, but that he voted against gay adoption, favouring adoption for specifically ‘married’ couples only.

The Tory leader also voted, along with many of his Tory colleagues, for an amendment to allow unmarried couples to adopt, but which specifically excluded gay couples. The amendment he backed sought to replace the words “whether of different sexes or the same sex” with “of different sexes”.

In an interview with Sky News in 2005, Cameron was insistent that his voting record on gay rights is vindicated by his abstention from a Tory three line whipped vote, rather thanvoting against the party whip:

Cameron: The thing we voted on is when a person adopts should you take into account the fact that they are in a stable relationship and..

Adam Boulton: But you didn’t vote…

David Cameron: I abstained on a three line whip.

Adam Boulton: But you voted against it twice previously.

David Cameron: I abstained on a three line whip which was…

Adam Boulton: You voted against it twice.

David Cameron: I abstained on the three line whip, Adam. I haven’t been through Hansard.

So, ConservativeHome’s trumpeting that David Cameron is “reaching out” to the gay community is exactly right. But he can’t rebrand his voting record.




Latest

  • Comment We want to build relationships with Labour – but they need to take some bold steps

    We want to build relationships with Labour – but they need to take some bold steps

    First my credentials. I have supported Labour at every election since I was old enough to vote. I am a party member of some 30 years standing. Why then, as the General Secretary of the trade union for staff in further and higher education am I in such utter despair at the timidity of the policy offer made by Labour to the members I represent and their students? Let’s be clear, I believe the coalition’s policies have been a disaster […]

    Read more →
  • News I was “never ever complicit” in illegal rendition or torture, says Jack Straw

    I was “never ever complicit” in illegal rendition or torture, says Jack Straw

    Jack Straw has condemned the use of torture and denied being complicit in the torture of suspected terrorists, following the publication of a report in America concerning the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs). Straw was Labour’s Foreign Secretary from 2001 to 2006, during the foremost years of the “War on Terror” and the UK’s military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Questions have been raised concerning what members of the British government knew about the use of EITs, but […]

    Read more →
  • Comment How not to change the constitution

    How not to change the constitution

    In this Parliament AV was rejected, Lords reform stumbled and even the Tories attempt to ‘equalise’ constituencies fell. ‘The Implications of Devolution for England’ already looks unhealthily like these other failed constitutional reforms. Nonetheless, the issue holds real dangers for Labour. Hague’s partisan and divisive Commons statement showed the Tories’ more concerned to maximise difference than to bring people together for the good of England. Yet even this couldn’t disguise Conservative divisions. In three months his Cabinet Committee failed to […]

    Read more →
  • News “Our choice is the country’s choice” – Lisa Nandy’s LabourList Christmas Lecture

    “Our choice is the country’s choice” – Lisa Nandy’s LabourList Christmas Lecture

    On Monday evening Lisa Nandy MP gave the LabourList Christmas Lecture to launch her pamphlet “Our Labour Our Communities” – you can download the pamphlet here. Here’s the text of that lecture: We’ve got five months to go until the most important General Election in a generation. And over the last year, as I’ve spent time with Labour candidates meeting and listening to people in communities as diverse as Brighton, Norwich and Calder Valley it seems to me the overwhelming […]

    Read more →
  • News Polling New Ashcroft polls shows the point where the Labour gains stop coming

    New Ashcroft polls shows the point where the Labour gains stop coming

    The latest batch of marginals polling carried out by Lord Ashcroft has been published today, and it does not bring many glad tidings for Labour. The polling covers four Labour seats: Dudley North, Great Grimsby, Plymouth Moor View and Rother Valley; eight Conservative seats: Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire, Ealing Central & Acton, Elmet & Rothwell, Harrow East, Pendle, South Swindon, Stevenage, and Warwick & Leamington; and one Green Party seat: Brighton Pavilion. All of the Conservative held seats, bar Warwick & […]

    Read more →