MP John Redwood's reasons for voting against gay marriageBy Laura Herbert
February 13, 2013
Wokingham's MP revealed why he voted against the same sex marriage bill, while other MPs representing parts of the borough either abstained or were in favour.
The Marriage (Same Sex couples) Bill received its second reading with the support of Prime Minister David Cameron.
The House of Commons voted in favour of the Bill, by 400 to 175, a majority of 225 on Tuesday, February 5.
John Redwood MP posted on his blog: “I am very conscious I could not please everyone when the constituency is so split. I kept my word and voted for the side that wrote in in larger numbers, which meant voting No to the Bill.”
Dr Phillip Lee, MP representing Finchampstead, and Rob Wilson MP, who represents Woodley and Earley, voted both for and against – which count as an abstention.
And Home Secretary Theresa May, whose Maidenhead constituency includes Twyford and Wargrave, voted for same sex marriage.
Mr Redwood added: “My consultation with constituents has been wide ranging. Some responded to the request on the blog, where a majority favoured the Bill by a margin of four to one.
“I have also had 96 letters against and seven in favour. More have responded to my Parliamentary email, where a large majority opposed the Bill. In the two days before I had four emails in favour and 45 against.”
MPs were given a free vote on the controversial bill, meaning they were not ordered to vote a particular way by party whips.
If the bill becomes law it will allow same sex couples to get married in civil and religious ceremonies, the current law only allows them to engage in civil partnerships.
Dr Lee said: “What is clear to me is this Bill was not a priority for the great majority of my constituents. I received no communication on the issue prior to the Prime Minister raising the possibility of the Bill during his 2011 Conservative Party Conference speech. Furthermore, to my knowledge, there was no national campaign on the issue before that.”
Mr Wilson said the Bill was ‘rushed’.
He added: “This legislation has proved so controversial it should have the clear endorsement of the public.
“I am concerned this measure was not part of the Conservative Party’s manifesto or the Coalition Agreement. It means the democratic basis for such a major piece of social legislation is regrettably thin and the Government should have done more to seek democratic legitimacy for this measure.
“None of the political parties are unanimous on this issue. Some Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs, as well as Conservatives, voted against the Bill, even though their parties are largely in favour of proposed changes.”
“I can assure my constituents I am not taking this matter lightly and have done my best to listen to those wishing to express an opinion.”
The legislation will be further scrutinised by Parliament.