Tory MP Peter Bone withdraws bill for referendum on equal marriage

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

The MP who described equal marriage as “completely nuts” has withdrawn his private member’s bill for a referendum on the issue.

The Same Sex Marriage (Referendum) Bill 2013-2014 had been tabled by Conservative MP Peter Bone earlier this year as part of an “alternative Queen’s Speech” by backbench Tories.

Mr Bone’s bill was due to receive its second reading in the Commons on Friday 29 November but it has now been withdrawn.

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Sharon Hodgson, has welcomed the decision, tweeting that it was “great news”.

Previous attempts by equal marriage parliamentary opponents to introduce referendums in order to delay passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act repeatedly failed ahead of Royal Assent.

The first same-sex weddings in England and Wales remain on course to take place by summer 2014.

In July, Lord Singh of Wimbledon unsuccessfully tabled an amendment to hold a referendum between October this year and November 2014.

Mr Bone, MP for Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, suggested in March that the Church of England should respond to the pending arrival of equal marriage by saying: “marriage is between a man and a woman so this is completely nuts”.

Mr Bone voted against the Equality Act in 2007.

In 1995, the Daily Mirror famously dubbed Mr Bone, who opposed minimum wage regulations, the “meanest boss” in the country for paying a 17-year-old 87p an hour.

Meanwhile, Michael Fabricant, the MP and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, has said he thinks it is “ludicrous” that couples who marry in England and Wales will not be recognised as married if travelling to Northern Ireland.

Unlike in England, Wales and Scotland, attempts to legalise marriage rights for same-sex couples remain stalled at Stormont.

The Democratic Unionist Party has twice used a petition of concern to block votes on equal marriage in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

PinkNews has contacted Mr Bone but is yet to receive a response.