Stockton MP on collision course with Cameron over gay marriage

Darlington and Stockton Times: James Wharton James Wharton

A NORTH-East Conservative MP is on a collision course with David Cameron after revealing his plans to vote against gay marriage.

James Wharton, the Stockton South MP, described the policy as "a step too far" - just a week after the prime minister vowed to "get it done and get it done quickly".

In a letter to constituents, Mr Wharton backed the freedom for same-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships, describing them as "an important step towards recognising the value of all loving relationships".

But he raised fears that any move to legalise gay marriage would, because of EU law, force churches to perform ceremonies - despite promises to the contrary.

And he wrote: "I am, therefore, minded to vote against this change, when it comes before parliament, though I will, of course, look at the detail of the proposals when the time comes."

According to one survey, more than 100 of the 303 Conservative MPs have written to constituents indicating their unease about gay marriage.

That threatens with Mr Cameron with the biggest Tory rebellion in modern times, explaining his decision to grant his MPs a free vote on the controversy.

Nevertheless, the Commons appears certain to vote in favour of gay marriage, because of strong backing from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

That vote is now expected to be staged early in the New Year, after No.10 decided to try to head off a gathering campaign among the Tory grassroots against the move.

Previously, the government had suggested only that gay marriage would be introduced at some point before the 2015 general election.

At the Tory conference last year, the prime minister: "I don't support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I'm a Conservative."

Recently, George Osborne upped the stakes by arguing the Tories risked losing the next general election if they refused to make the change.

Comments (7)

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9:36pm Mon 26 Nov 12

John Justice says...

Historically and legally, marriage is a legal union between a man and a woman. The majority of people in Great Britain see it that way and have entrenched beliefs that have indicated that such a marriage union is the bedrock of society. why is it that this present government have turned the issue of Homosexuals being allowed to say they are married following a legal service and as a result become "the same" as Hetrosexuals in marriage?. It has been turned into a political issue for no good reason. The majority of people do not agree with it and only a minority of gays support the proposal. Homosexuals are the same in every way as Hetrosexuals except for their sexuality, an issue which should have no relevance in almost all walks of life except I suggest the issue of marriage. Civil marriage partnerships give gay people all the rights and responsabilities that Hetrosexual marriage has. There is no need to change and all MPs should vote only in reflection of the views of the people who elected them to office. This issue was not a Conservative agenda at the last election, why have they made it an issue now?. A referendum would surely show what the majority of people want, I suspect that the Government knows that it would be opposed by a majority of people.
Historically and legally, marriage is a legal union between a man and a woman. The majority of people in Great Britain see it that way and have entrenched beliefs that have indicated that such a marriage union is the bedrock of society. why is it that this present government have turned the issue of Homosexuals being allowed to say they are married following a legal service and as a result become "the same" as Hetrosexuals in marriage?. It has been turned into a political issue for no good reason. The majority of people do not agree with it and only a minority of gays support the proposal. Homosexuals are the same in every way as Hetrosexuals except for their sexuality, an issue which should have no relevance in almost all walks of life except I suggest the issue of marriage. Civil marriage partnerships give gay people all the rights and responsabilities that Hetrosexual marriage has. There is no need to change and all MPs should vote only in reflection of the views of the people who elected them to office. This issue was not a Conservative agenda at the last election, why have they made it an issue now?. A referendum would surely show what the majority of people want, I suspect that the Government knows that it would be opposed by a majority of people. John Justice
  • Score: -2

11:24pm Mon 26 Nov 12

gattonero says...

I agree with Mr Wharton wholeheartedly. I have several friends who are gay and have a civil partnership, but Church rules are clear - marriage in the eyes of the Church is between a man and a woman. Why cloud the issue? This is not a party political issue. I am not particularly religious but support Mr Wharton's views
I agree with Mr Wharton wholeheartedly. I have several friends who are gay and have a civil partnership, but Church rules are clear - marriage in the eyes of the Church is between a man and a woman. Why cloud the issue? This is not a party political issue. I am not particularly religious but support Mr Wharton's views gattonero
  • Score: -1

1:18am Tue 27 Nov 12

Don Kitchenbrand says...

How can the MP be on a collision course with the Prime Minister if it is free vote?

That does not make sense. Mr Wharton is not defying the Conservative Whip on this issue.

Perhaps the author can explain what he means.
How can the MP be on a collision course with the Prime Minister if it is free vote? That does not make sense. Mr Wharton is not defying the Conservative Whip on this issue. Perhaps the author can explain what he means. Don Kitchenbrand
  • Score: 0

4:56am Tue 27 Nov 12

BMD says...

Surely Gay people can’t be religious as their sexual preference is a contradiction of faith teachings.

So why are the Government hell bent on pursuing this agenda, when more important issues need to be addressed.
Surely Gay people can’t be religious as their sexual preference is a contradiction of faith teachings. So why are the Government hell bent on pursuing this agenda, when more important issues need to be addressed. BMD
  • Score: -1

10:08am Tue 27 Nov 12

frankyboy says...

I just can't see what the problem is. Those who, for 'historical' or 'religious' reasons, oppose the right of two consenting adults to enter into marriage should reflect on whether their prejudice is really suited to modern society. I'm not gay but I do hope this vote is passed.

If the EU does then force churches to conduct gay marriage ceremonies then the EU does have some use after all. While they're at it they can hopefully intervene to force the ordination of women bishops. Churches could then perhaps focus on spreading the word of God in a modern context, rather than holding on to outdated prejudices.
I just can't see what the problem is. Those who, for 'historical' or 'religious' reasons, oppose the right of two consenting adults to enter into marriage should reflect on whether their prejudice is really suited to modern society. I'm not gay but I do hope this vote is passed. If the EU does then force churches to conduct gay marriage ceremonies then the EU does have some use after all. While they're at it they can hopefully intervene to force the ordination of women bishops. Churches could then perhaps focus on spreading the word of God in a modern context, rather than holding on to outdated prejudices. frankyboy
  • Score: 1

12:44pm Tue 27 Nov 12

loan_star says...

Don Kitchenbrand wrote:
How can the MP be on a collision course with the Prime Minister if it is free vote?

That does not make sense. Mr Wharton is not defying the Conservative Whip on this issue.

Perhaps the author can explain what he means.
The author is Red Rob so any chance is taken to make a mountain out of a mole hill to get a dig in at the Conservatives. Lame journalism really.
[quote][p][bold]Don Kitchenbrand[/bold] wrote: How can the MP be on a collision course with the Prime Minister if it is free vote? That does not make sense. Mr Wharton is not defying the Conservative Whip on this issue. Perhaps the author can explain what he means.[/p][/quote]The author is Red Rob so any chance is taken to make a mountain out of a mole hill to get a dig in at the Conservatives. Lame journalism really. loan_star
  • Score: 0

2:27pm Tue 27 Nov 12

BMD says...

frankyboy wrote:
I just can't see what the problem is. Those who, for 'historical' or 'religious' reasons, oppose the right of two consenting adults to enter into marriage should reflect on whether their prejudice is really suited to modern society. I'm not gay but I do hope this vote is passed. If the EU does then force churches to conduct gay marriage ceremonies then the EU does have some use after all. While they're at it they can hopefully intervene to force the ordination of women bishops. Churches could then perhaps focus on spreading the word of God in a modern context, rather than holding on to outdated prejudices.
It is really the regular local congregation whom should have the final decision. It is their place of worship and the Government or EU should not impose their ideology in local issues.

A gay couple decides to marry at the local mosque; a spontaneous protest may just ruin their day!

The EU is slowly losing credibility in the UK and any EU involvement would only diminish there already low ratings.
[quote][p][bold]frankyboy[/bold] wrote: I just can't see what the problem is. Those who, for 'historical' or 'religious' reasons, oppose the right of two consenting adults to enter into marriage should reflect on whether their prejudice is really suited to modern society. I'm not gay but I do hope this vote is passed. If the EU does then force churches to conduct gay marriage ceremonies then the EU does have some use after all. While they're at it they can hopefully intervene to force the ordination of women bishops. Churches could then perhaps focus on spreading the word of God in a modern context, rather than holding on to outdated prejudices.[/p][/quote]It is really the regular local congregation whom should have the final decision. It is their place of worship and the Government or EU should not impose their ideology in local issues. A gay couple decides to marry at the local mosque; a spontaneous protest may just ruin their day! The EU is slowly losing credibility in the UK and any EU involvement would only diminish there already low ratings. BMD
  • Score: 0

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