Exclusive: David Blunkett: Equal marriage plans are ‘a complete dog’s dinner’

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Labour’s former home secretary David Blunkett has described the government’s equal marriage plans for England and Wales as a “complete dog’s dinner”.

The Labour MP, who has represented Sheffield since 1987, made the remarks in a letter to a PinkNews reader.

Asked whether he would support the government’s proposals to allow same-sex couples to marry, Mr Blunkett replied:

I think, as you will have gathered, this legislation looks like a complete dog’s dinner.

Not only have they managed to upset those who feel that marriage is essentially between a man and a woman and therefore civil partnerships should remain for those seeking same sex union and recognition, but they have also now managed to upset the Church of England and the Church in Wales by suggesting that there will be legislation to rule out any such marriage in those established churches!

In simple terms, I do not think that the government is entirely clear what it is doing or why it is doing it.

When this becomes clearer, I will take a view. I am prepared to listen, to reflect and to take into account the views of my constituents.

My views will be informed by rational debate and discussion, but at the moment I fear the government is not clear what it is that it really wants to do.

David Blunkett served as home secretary in Tony Blair’s government from June 2001 – December 2004.

He resigned from the cabinet in the wake of personal allegations involving his relationship with the then publisher of the Spectator, Kimberly Quinn and claims he helped speed-up a visa application for her ex-nanny.

After returning to Tony Blair’s cabinet in 2005 as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mr Blunkett was forced to resign for a second time just six months later, following complaints over his directorship in a company called DNA Bioscience.

In May 2012, Mr Blunkett’s predecessor, Labour home secretary Jack Straw, recorded an Out4Marriage video and stated that marriage should not be denied to gay couples.

Mr Straw’s intervention was sparked by the current Conservative Home Secretary’s decision to join the Out4Marriage campaign.

In her video, Theresa May said: “I believe if two people care for each other, if they love each other, if they want to commit to each other and spend the rest of their lives together then they should be able to get married, and marriage should be for everyone, and that’s why I’m coming Out4Marriage.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, a long-term advocate of marriage equality, released an Out4Marriage video last year, and in December urged the government to “get on” with introducing the reform.

Yvette Cooper’s husband, shadow chancellor Ed Balls, also released an Out4Marriage video last May.

A spokesperson for Mr Blunkett told PinkNews that the former minister “does not oppose gay marriage. He has said that he will listen and take a view, but he has not stated his opposition at all.”