PM Faces Tory Rebellion Over Gay Marriage

Darren McCaffrey, Sky Reporter
PM Faces Tory Rebellion Over Gay Marriage

David Cameron could be facing the biggest Conservative rebellion of his premiership over plans to introduce gay marriage.

Some 118 Tory MPs - more than a third of the party's representatives- have indicated to their constituents that they are uneasy about the highly controversial move, according to The Daily Mail.

The reported figure is a sign of how divided the Conservative Party is over gay marriage, despite both the Prime Minister and Chancellor George Osborne being personally committed to legislating for it.

Ministers have promised to introduce a Bill before 2015, although it has been claimed this week that Mr Cameron actually wants to fast-track legislation and bring it before Parliament early next year.

The Government has indicated that there will be a free vote, meaning that MPs will be able to vote against the Prime Minister's position without facing disciplinary action.

However it is far from clear if all 118 MPs would vote against the legislation.

Sky News have spoken to several MPs quoted in the article who have ruled out voting against the Government.

Openly gay MP for Bournemouth West, Conor Burns, said he hasn't decided whether to abstain or vote in favour but says he doesn't understand why it’s being brought forward now.

Other MPs have expressed concerns over whether enough safeguards are in place to protect religious institutions but refuse to indicate whether they oppose the principle of gay marriage.

The Chancellor however believes a large Tory vote against gay marriage will not help the party appeal to centre ground voters.

Mr Osborne warned last week that ditching the policy would be toxic electorally.

He said that polls indicate a "clear majority" in favour of the change, particularly among the young and women.

A significant vote in opposition to the Government’s proposals from within Conservative ranks would certainly be an embarrassment for the Prime Minister and a further blow to his credibility.

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