Tory MP Peter Bone: There was ‘no point’ in pressing ahead with my same-sex marriage referendum

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Conservative MP Peter Bone has explained to his reasons for withdrawing a private member’s bill, which had called for a referendum on England and Wales’ same-sex marriage law.

The Same Sex Marriage (Referendum) Bill 2013-2014 had been tabled by the Wellingborough MP 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Mr Bone’s bill was due to receive its second reading in the Commons on Friday 29 November – but it was withdrawn last Friday.

With equal marriage now law, Mr Bone told that there was “no point in trying to change it now”.

He conceded “we didn’t win” and that equal marriage opponents would instead be waiting to see what happens when the first same-sex weddings take place in 2014.

Mr Bone 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”.

Speaking to, Mr Bone said this had been a reference to the political implementation of the policy rather than the actual principle of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

The MP stated that equal marriage had not been in the 2010 Conservative Party manifesto and claimed that it did not have a democratic mandate.

He said it had been “absolutely nuts to bring in this bill that wasn’t in the manifesto.”

In February this year, Equalities Minister Helen Grant dismissed this assertion by saying: “[Equal marriage] was in the Contract for Equalities that was published at the same time as the Conservative General Election manifesto. It was quite clear what our intentions may well be.”

In a separate issue, Mr Bone said he had been pleased that Conservative MP Crispin Blunt was last week overwhelmingly reselected as the 2015 Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Reigate.

The MP was forced to undergo a new selection process by his local Conservative Association’s Executive Council in September.

Despite denials by several members that Mr Blunt’s sexuality was the reason behind the decision to remove support, some had gone on record to say they would not have supported a gay candidate.

Revealing that he had written a letter of support for Mr Blunt, Peter Bone said such an attempt to deselect on the basis of sexuality was “absolutely wrong”.

He added: “If it was in part because Crispin is gay, then that would be absolutely outrageous”.