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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Ivan Massow, it's called "consultation" on gay marriage

Did I know that Ivan Massow had returned to the Conservative Party? I knew that Mr Massow had left the Tories and joined Labour (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/862683.stm), but did I know that life's revolving door had returned him to the Tory fold? Actually, yes, I think I did and it rings a vague bell (http://m.guardian.co.uk/politics/2004/may/06/london.london1?cat=politics&type=article - this says that he re-joined in 2004 "with the lure of possibly becoming a Tory MP at the next election", which he didn't, and this (http://m.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/sep/02/fall-and-rise-ivan-massow?cat=money&type=article) is perhaps the latest update).

In an article in the Standard (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/comment/comment/ivan-massow-david-cameron-has-betrayed-gays-to-appease-the-right-7737178.html), Mr Massow writes, on gay marriage, that Tory sources "assured me it'll happen, it's still in consultation, on the agenda. Yeah, yeah, we've heard this bluster before...We don't need consultation, we need action." The piece (which makes no mention of the Coalition, the Liberal Democrats, or Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dem Home Office Minister who is actively responsible for this issue) is headlined "Ivan Massow: David Cameron has betrayed gays to appease the Right".

I agree with Mr Massow on the need for marriage equality. There can be times when "consultation" is a euphemism for eternal inertia. This is decidedly not one of those times. Does Mr Massow not know that there actually is a formal public consultation going on right now? It has been fairly publicised by the BBC and others. It's here: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/equal-civil-marriage/. It says it ends in June. There's an online form to fill in, to register one's views. I shall fill it in; I hope that Ivan Massow will do likewise.

Would any government have announced, in a Queen's Speech in May, legislation on an issue on which the consultation period does not end until June? I doubt it. Let's wait and see what happens post-consultation before we all start shouting "betrayal".

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