Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood: Why I wasn’t present for the equal marriage vote

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Liberal Democrat MP Martin Horwood has been in touch with PinkNews to explain why he did not take part in Tuesday’s vote of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

The Cheltenham MP was listed among 7 Lib Dems who were absent from the vote. However, Liberal Democrat blogger Mark Pack believes only Greg Mullholand was an “actual abstention”.

According to Mr Pack, Norman Baker, Martin Horwood, John Thurso were all absent on “government or constituency business”.

Former party leader Charles Kennedy was caring for an ill family member.

David Ward was abroad on parliamentary business and Jenny Willott had recently given birth.

Mr Pack also said that the absences of Mr Baker, Mr Horwood and Mr Thurso “were not conveniently timed visits, all three had previously expressed support to constituents for equal marriage.”  

Lib Dem MPs Sir Alan Beith, Gordon Birtwistle, John Pugh and former Children’s minister Sarah Teather voted against the bill.

On Thursday, Martin Horwood told PinkNews: “I most emphatically did NOT abstain! I was 100 miles away in my constituency speaking to members of a local church about poverty and homelessness.

“I had already postponed this meeting once and felt I could not do so again, but nevertheless checked with Liberal Democrat whips right up to the afternoon of the vote itself to make sure they were absolutely confident the bill was at no risk at all. And judging by the majority, they were right.

“I am 100% behind equal marriage and will vote for the bill without hesitation in its later stages. I am delighted by the second reading vote and very proud that such a high proportion of Liberal Democrats back the bill.”

Mr Horwood also pointed to his Out4Marriage video of last year, as a further example of his commitment to equality.