Former “anti-gay” Equality Minister Ruth Kelly to stand down as MP

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The Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly will not seek re-election as an MP, she has told her constituents.

The MP for Bolton West caused controversy in 2006 when she was appointed by Tony Blair to the role of Minister for Equality despite consistently avoiding to vote in favour of gay rights.

She will leave her role as Transport Secretary in a reshuffle expected later today.

A member of controversial Roman Catholic group Opus Dei, Ms Kelly did vote in favour of the Sexual Orientation Regulations that her then department implemented following repeatedly delaying a vote and attempts to provide exemptions to religious institutions.

After first raised her voting record in May 2006, Ms Kelly repeatedly refused to deny that she personally regarded homosexuality as sinful.

On 22nd June 1998, she was absent from the Crime and Disorder Bill to reduce the age of consent, as she was on the 1st March 1999 and the 10th February when the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill sought to achieve the same goal (the first having been rejected by the Lords).

On the 24th October 2001, she was absent from the voting on the Relationships (Civil Registration) motion that was the catalyst for introducing the Civil Partnerships bill in Parliament.

On the 29th October 2001, she was absent from the third reading of the Adoption and Children Bill (Programme), to allow gay couples to adopt, as she was on further votes on the same subject on 16th May 2002, 20th May 2002 and the 4th November 2002.

On the 10th March 2003, she was absent from the vote to repeal section 28 which banned local authorities from promoting homosexuality as a valid lifestyle.

On the 12th October 2004, she was absent from the vote on the Civil Partnerships Bill, as she was on the 9th November 2004.

Ms Kelly made it clear she wanted to spend more time with her four children but she holds a marginal seat that according to recent polls is likely to be lost by Labour at the next election.