Clare Balding takes aim at ‘uncool’ Lord Tebbit over his ‘lesbian queen’ remarks

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BBC sports presenter Clare Balding has criticised former Conservative Party chairman Lord Tebbit after he warned Britain could be ruled by a lesbian queen if equal marriage is legalised.

Earlier this month, Lord Tebbit delivered a foul-mouthed attack on David Cameron, claiming the prime minister had “fucked things up” over the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Speaking to the Big Issue magazine, Lord Tebbit questioned whether the reforms could cause chaos when combined with changes to the rules of succession.

He said: “When we have a queen who is a lesbian and she marries another lady and then decides she would like to have a child and someone donates sperm and she gives birth to a child, is that child heir to the throne?”

Commenting on the remarks in an interview with the London Evening Standard, Clare Balding said: “That just led to really funny stuff on Twitter — ‘If equal marriage goes through, what if a horse wants to marry a cupboard?’ It’s extraordinary that Tebbit’s worst possible thought would be a lesbian who has artificial insemination. How incredibly insulting to every surrogate parent, that somehow their child doesn’t count.”

She continued: “I would be very disappointed with Norman Tebbit if he watched me presenting the Olympics and thought, ‘lesbian presenter’, because nothing could be less relevant to what I do. If he had a choice between an amazing queen who was a lesbian or a queen who was straight and not very effective, who would he rather have? It’s a very odd thing to place above all others in judging someone. I do think, in most people’s eyes, it’s pretty uncool.”

The presenter added: “Does Norman Tebbit look cool? I don’t think so. And do most people think gay couples are cool? Yeah. For me to be able to be at the Baftas with Alice and my parents and to be able to acknowledge them together sitting in the front row, that’s a massive moment. And I got loads of support from straight couples up and down the country, as well as gay people, because they’re happy for our happiness.”

In February, former Radio 4 newsreader Alice Arnold – Clare Balding’s civil partner – told MPs about the homophobic abuse each of them regularly receive on Twitter.

“On Twitter, I block. It’s the only power you have,” Balding said to the Standard. “If the guy standing at the bar turned around and said ‘I think you’re a big, fat, useless dyke’ — which is the sort of thing people write on Twitter — I’d walk out. They have no more right to expect a response than he would.”

Balding added: “Weak people see [sexuality] as another stick to beat me with. I see it as their weakness.”