Tory Whip: I never said equal marriage would be ‘kicked into the long grass’

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Conservative MP Desmond Swayne has denied saying in a conversation that marriage reform would be “kicked into the long grass” and claims he has “no recollection” of the comments.

In a post published on the Christian ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ website, blogger Naomi King details an email exchange between herself and the Hampshire MP, who was previously David Cameron’s Parliamentary Private Secretary before taking up a position in the Whip’s Office.

In her email to the MP, sent on Thursday 20 December, she said:

“Last February, as we walked up the stairs to the Committee Room on the CFI Parliamentary Lobby Day, you gave me the assurance that the homosexual so called ‘marriage’ proposals would be ‘kicked into the long grass’. Can you and the party now confirm that you will be standing by this reassuring commitment?”

According to Ms King, the MP said in response:

“Thanks, but I have no recollection of expressing any such sentiment. In all our communications I have pointed out that I disagree with you and that I support the proposals. The bill will be introduced in the Commons in late January, and will have to be carried over into the next parliamentary session in May before completing its passage in the Lords.”

Below the email, Ms King added:

“I can assure all readers that this is exactly what Desmond said to me back last February on the stairs up to the Committee Room, that these proposals will be ‘kicked into the long grass.’”

In May, Mr Swayne recorded a video of support for the Out4Marriage campaign, he said: “I’m married, I enjoy being married, it’s a huge blessing, and therefore I want that blessing to be extended to everyone.

“I’ve come at this issue of equal marriage,” he continued, “principally because I am a Christian. I believe that the promises of the Gospel are unconfined: they’re for everyone, and the sacraments that follow from that should be available to everyone. That’s why, I’m Out4Marriage.”