London Evening Standard calls for PM to move quickly on same-sex marriage

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The London Evening Standard has published an editorial stating that speeding up implementation of equal marriage would help benefit the government because it would then be free to divert its attention to other matters.

The paper has welcomed Thursday’s claim made by the Daily Mail that David Cameron was looking to fast-track legislation, with MPs possibly being given a vote on the matter “within weeks”.

“This is an example of clear leadership, an area where the prime minister has sometimes been found wanting”, wrote the Standard.

“He feels strongly about the issue in principle and has persuaded most of his party to back the move. He has made the arguments and he is now acting on his convictions. There has been public consultation but it cannot go on endlessly; at some point, the measure must go ahead”.

In an interview with on Wednesday, Tim Montgomerie, the editor of the influential Conservative Home website suggested that David Cameron had failed to sufficiently articulate on why the policy was necessary to sceptical core Tory voters.

Mr Montgomerie said the prime minister had taken “a position on gay marriage quite bravely five or six years ago but he hasn’t gone out on the public square and argued about it in a passionate way”.

In its editorial, the Standard went on to say: “By putting the measure on the statute books, the PM will neutralise its capacity to divide his party: there will thereafter be little point in arguing about it. He can then get on with the government’s other priorities.

On Friday, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which houses the Government Equalities Office (GEO) sought to downplay recent speculation about a faster timetable.

A spokesperson said:

We have been clear that we will publish the government’s response to the consultation on equal civil marriage before Christmas.

“We will set out then how we will proceed, and it is premature to discuss the timetable of a bill before that.

“This is an emotive issue and will be thoroughly discussed in both Houses of Parliament.”

The London Evening Standard joined several other newspapers in coming out for equal marriage in May of this year.