Thursday, April 08, 2010

I'm voting Labour, founder of Tory gay rights group says.

I've spoken before about Chris Grayling's views on whether or not B&B owners should be allowed to refuse gay couples the right to stay on their premises.

Cameron has, as expected, done nothing to reprimand him. That lack of action is set to cost Cameron, as the founder of the Conservative Party's biggest group campaigning for gay rights has now said that she will vote Labour and that she feels guilty for ever having told people to vote Conservative.

Anastasia Beaumont-Bott, the first chairman of the LGBT Tory group, said she felt guilty for having told gay voters to back the Tories in the past after Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary, said he believed bed and breakfast owners should have the right to ban gay couples from staying in their property. She called on the Tory leader to dismiss Mr Grayling. So far, Mr Cameron has refused to take any action against him.

"I feel guilty because as a gay woman affected by LGBT rights I am on record saying you should vote Conservative, and I want to reverse that," she said. "I want to go on record to say don't vote Conservative. I'd go as far to say that I'll vote Labour at this general election." The endorsement for Labour from Ms Beaumont-Bott, 20, will be an embarrassment for the Tories. She had been picked out as one of the faces of Mr Cameron's young, modern Conservatives for her work in promoting gay rights within the party.
This is a blow to Cameron because Miss Beaumont-Bott was supposed to be part of the argument proving that the nasty party had changed and that Cameron had transformed them into something new and friendly. However, she is now claiming that she decided to leave the party eighteen months ago because she believes that, under it's new skin, the party remains deeply homophobic.
"It's been in my head for a while to speak out, but the Chris Grayling issue has made me realise that a year-and-a-half ago, I was someone who was standing up and telling gay people that they should vote for Mr Cameron. But I became disillusioned after meeting one too many people in that party who were not like what the leader was saying the party was about. If you make a comment like [those made by Mr Grayling], you should be out. This isn't a question of party lines – it is disgusting. I don't like doing this to Mr Cameron. I like him, but the insides of his party are not what the people are led to believe."
I feel sorry for her that she ever trusted them, that she ever bought in to the sheen of respectability which Cameron's PR experience has helped him paint them with.

But the partners the Tories have chosen in Europe should have told her that Cameron's interest in gay rights is skin deep.

Cameron is leading a party which is essentially unchanged. Indeed, I would go as far as to say Cameron himself is unchanged. He might talk the talk about a new modern Tory party, but he is buying the silence of his most vociferous backbenchers by aligning himself with European extremists. That fact alone says all one needs to know about the "new" Tory party.

The press in the UK are mostly giving Cameron a criminally easy ride. They are allowing him to sell his party as something which it is not. Beaumont-Bott has woken up before it is too late. I fear the rest of the country will not follow her lead.

Click here for full article.

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