Theresa May defends equalities role

Home Secretary Theresa May

New home secretary and equality minister Theresa May has said it is right for her to take responsibility for equality despite her poor voting record as exposed on yesterday.

Mrs May was given the new roles yesterday after being shadow equality minister and said that tackling homophobic bullying would be one of her priorities.

She voted for civil partnerships on one occasion but was absent or voted against most gay equality measures. Those she voted against included repealing Section 28 and allowing gay couples the right to adopt together.

Last night, she told Channel 4 News: “Certainly there were some votes I wasn’t present for. But what we intend to do in government is taking forward an agenda on equalities across the whole range of equalities.”

All the main parties promised action against homophobic bullying in various interviews with the pink press in the lead-up to the election.

Mrs May said: “In this particular issue we have some very real commitments, for example in terms of homophobic bullying in schools.

“Headteachers do need, I think, to be given greater support in identifying that and dealing with that issue.”

Stonewall would not comment on her voting record yesterday but indicated it expected to see all gay equality election promises implemented.

A spokesman said: “Both coalition parties made a number of promises to lesbian and gay voters during the campaign. We look forward to working with Teresa May to see them fulfilled.”