Lord Tebbit: Tim Yeo’s ‘dodgy’ support for equal marriage contributed to his downfall

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

Former Conservative Party chairman Lord Tebbit says Tim Yeo’s “dodgy” views, such as supporting equal marriage, contributed to his de-selection as a 2015 Tory parliamentary candidate.

Speaking to ITV Anglia, Lord Tebbit also said Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to support the embattled MP for South Suffolk only made matters worse.

Lord Tebbit said: “I’m not sure that the support of the prime minister was particularly helping. After all, those people in the association would have regarded the prime minister’s views on gay marriage, Europe and the environment as pretty dodgy as well.”

Mr Yeo, who has been the MP for South Suffolk since 1983, was deselected this week after a vote by all Conservative members of his local association.

The 68-year-old former environment minister appeared to put some of the blame on his support for socially progressive policies.

“Clearly there were some issues on which I may have had disagreements with them,” he said. “I voted in favour of gay marriage – that wasn’t a universally held view amongst my members.

“I have a very great commitment to addressing climate change – that’s not a universally held view.

“I’m in favour of Britain’s membership of the EU – that’s not a universally held view.”

However, the MP faced criticism from within his constituency that he spent little time in the area.

The House of Commons sleaze watchdog last month cleared Mr Yeo, Chairman of the Energy Select Committee, of breaking parliamentary rules on lobbying.

Last week, fellow Conservative MP Anne McIntosh was deselected as the Conservative candidate for Thirsk and Malton. She faced similar criticism over the amount of time she spent in the constituency, but unlike Mr Yeo, she has one of the worst gay rights voting records in Parliament.

The MP voted against same-sex marriage, civil partnerships, gay adoption, lesbian fertility rights and anti-discrimination measures to protect gay people in the provision of goods and services.

Mr Yeo voted against an equal age of consent but was absent for other key gay rights votes including civil partnerships. He voted for equal marriage last year.

Former justice minister Crispin Blunt recently won a re-selection battle for the Reigate constituency. He faced the vote following complaints over his 2010 decision to come out as gay.

Lord Tebbit was one of the staunchest opponents against the government’s decision to legalise equal marriage during the debates in the House of Lords last year.

He said that David Cameron had “fucked things up” by introducing same-sex marriage, as it would lead to incestuous or polygamous marriage.

Lord Tebbit also argued that gay people are not currently discriminated against as a gay man has the same right to marry a woman as he does.

By coincidence, the first same-sex weddings in England and Wales will take place on the 82-year-old’s birthday, Saturday 29 March.