The blame game is under way following the Conservative Party rout that occured in yesterday’s local elections, and its support of “gay marriage” (i.e. marriage equality) is being used as a scapegoat. Gerald Howarth, MP for Aldershot and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Defence), told the BBC, “There are issues, for example, like the proposals for gay marriage. A lot of Conservatives have written to me saying ‘I am a lifelong Conservative, there is no mandate for this, why is this being proceeded with?’.” It is a cynically narrow definition of the democracy that a party should only serve the interests of its core members. A political party should lead, not follow. Nevertheless the MP for Peterborough, Stewart Jackson, called on the Prime Minister to drop “barmy lib Dem policies” like gay marriage because they offend traditional party members.
The Conservative vote was split in this election by the right-wing alternative, the UKIP, which accused David Cameron of “deliberately provoking a conflict with people of faith, and risking turning their beliefs into criminal ‘hate offences’,” and whose National Executive “confirmed that while UKIP fully supports the concept of civil partnerships, it opposes the move to legislate for same-sex marriage”. The MP for Devon South West, Gary Streeter, has been a vocal opponent of marriage equality, which he calls “gay marriage”, and he is a supporter of the Coalition for Marriage, as outlined in the article ‘Pro ‘gay cure’ charity infiltrates government’. He is calling for the Conservatives to take a right turn, and is using the increased UKIP to support this. “If the tail has been wagging the dog a little bit too much, we have got to be a little more small “c” and big “C” conservative on crime, law and order, some of our traditional policies. That’s what our supporters are waiting, indeed gagging, to see.”
The Conservatives lost 403 seats and 12 Councils in the election. Its coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, lost 329 seats and 1 Council. What this says about the future of British politics is hard to guage when only 32% of the electorate voted. The problem is that it is being used by opponents of equal marriage within the government to derail policies that were already on uncertain ground. And that government is still in power.