Openly gay Labour ministers accuse Tories of homophobia

Just days after Conservative leader David Cameron apologised for Section 28, openly gay Labour ministers have attacked the opposition for being homophobic.

Speaking last night at an event hosted by Jake, the gay networking society, culture minister Ben Bradshaw said “a deep strain of homophobia still exists on the Conservative benches”.

His comments were echoed by foreign minister Chris Bryant, who said: “If gays vote Tory they will rue the day very soon.”

Both ministers were speaking in response to a Jake survey, which found that 38 per cent of members were planning to vote Conservative at the next general election, compared to just 20 per cent for Labour. The findings mirror similar polls, such as one conducted by earlier this year.

Bryant added he did not believe Cameron’s front bench was homophobic but feared the party would attempt to roll back progress made by the Labour party on gay rights.

However, openly gay Conservative Alan Duncan, who is shadow leader of the House of Commons, responded by telling Paul Waugh of the Evening Standard that Labour was “actually the nasty party”.

He said: “This is the last gasp of Labour’s desperation. Bradshaw and Bryant are simply trying to stir up hatred and division from the last century and it’s both unwarranted and unworthy.

“It’s simply untrue. I believed we had reached the happy point where politics had been taken out of this altogether. But these remarks show that Labour is actually the nasty party.

“I have publicly paid tribute to Tony Blair for his achievements, particularly on introducing civil partnerships. David Cameron this week said that on Section 28 we had to admit we got it wrong. The party has changed. I bet in Labour backwaters there are plenty of people who don’t like the fact that Ben Bradshaw is gay.”