Ed Miliband predicts ‘big turnout’ for Labour in support of same-sex marriage vote

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has predicted that the majority of his party will support equal marriage when it goes to a vote on Tuesday in the House of Commons.

Mr Miliband told The House magazine he expected a “big turnout of Labour MPs in full support” of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

When asked for predictions on how Conservative MPs would vote, Mr Miliband said: “I’ll let the Tory party speak for itself.”

“We don’t need the equal marriage [vote] to see the nasty party is back,” he added, referring to terms like “strivers and shirkers” used by Conservative MPs during recent debates on welfare.

Mr Miliband said that he would vote for the bill, saying: “I want this to go through. It’s about people who love each other and want the chance to get married and I don’t think they should be denied.”

Mr Miliband first pledged his support for the issue in a column for PinkNews.co.uk.

At the time he wrote: “’Separate but equal’ is not good enough and PinkNews.co.uk’s own recent poll demonstrated the huge support in the LGBT community for a right to marry. I want to see heterosexual and same-sex partnerships put on an equal basis and a Labour Party that I lead will campaign to make gay marriage happen.”

In December 2012, Mr Miliband promised that the Shadow Cabinet would all vote in favour of same-sex marriage, but announced that Labour would not be whipping MPs on the issue.

LGBT Labour criticised the decision to hold a free vote, saying: “issues of equality are not matters of conscience but fundamental rights.”

Conservative MP David Burrowes has claimed that a poll he took of Tory MPs revealed that two thirds would not be supporting the bill.

Earlier this week, Conservative MP Philip Davies, who also opposes equal marriage, told a PinkNews reader that he expects the government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill for England and Wales to pass with a Commons majority of between 300-400.