Sunday, 16 September 2018

The LGBTphobic Tory 'stalking horse'

With the party conferences season in full swing there is open plotting and rebellion in both the Conservative and Labour parties. Today an implausible MP has broken cover as a potential "stalking horse" on the Tory benches, offering to run against Theresa May for the party leadership should his colleagues back him.

George Freeman, a venture capitalist who became an MP in 2010, was a trenchant opponent of same-sex marriage. His opposition extended not just to opposing the right to marry but also that the Treasury should cover the minor costs of the legislative changeover.

Of course, research has confirmed in recent years what we knew all along - that discriminatory marriage laws have a huge impact on young LGBT people growing up.

So while his record signals George to be a supporter of higher rates of teen suicide and self harm we should remember that Theresa was a late convert - championing similar causes through laws like Section 28 up until the formation of the 2010 coalition government, when as Home Secretary she was persuaded of the case for same-sex marriage by junior minister Lynne Featherstone.

We can only hope that, if George's career suddenly acquires some momentum, there is a similar voice nearby to drag him towards the 21st century too.

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