David Cameron’s quest for the pink vote looks to be in serious jeopardy this week as yet another key Conservative party member expressed their anti-gay feelings.
It is the third time during the current campaign that a party member has publicly gaffed and embarrassed Cameron who has worked hard to convince gay voters that anti-gay attitudes within the Tory party have changed.
Philip Lardner, Conservative candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran, wrote on his campaign website that he could not accept gays as being normal – adding that “most” people would agree.
Mr Lardner told voters: “With experience as a teacher and a believer in parental rights and responsibilities, as your MP I will support the rights of parents and teachers to refuse to have their children taught that homosexuality is ‘normal’ behaviour or an equal lifestyle choice to traditional marriage.
“I will always support the rights of homosexuals to be treated within concepts of [common sense] equality and respect, and defend their rights to choose to live the way they want in private, but I will not accept that their behaviour is ‘normal’ or encourage children to indulge in it.”
The posting, headed “what I believe in” also included the view that the majority of the public believe homosexuality to be “somewhere between ‘unfortunate’ and ‘simply wrong'”.
David Cameron has said he took the decision to suspend and withdraw Landers candidacy “within minutes”.
As a consolation he added “I think people in the gay community know it is easier for people who are Conservative and gay to vote Conservative than at any time before.
“The Conservative Party has been on a journey. Has it been far enough and fast enough? Perhaps not, but it’s gone further than many other parties around the world.”
Within the last month two other key Conservative party members have made anti-gay statements embarrassing the Tory leader.
The shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling was forced to apologise after saying he supported the view that bed and breakfast owners should have the right to refuse gay guests.
Julian Lewis, the shadow Defence Minister commented that the gay age of consent should not have been lowered to 16 because it puts teenage males at “a seriously increased risk of HIV infection”.
Despite Cameron’s efforts gay support for The Conservatives seems to have nose-dived. A poll carried out last week by gay media site PinkNews.co.uk revealed that 58% of the 1,000 respondents intend to vote for the Liberal democrats in the forthcoming election. The Labour party achieved 21% and the Conservatives 9%.
The general election takes place on May 6th.
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by Gary Cosby