Michael Cashman MEP: Ben Summerskill’s attack on Lib Dems undermines Stonewall’s founding principles

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Labour MEP and Stonewall co-founder Michael Cashman, has criticised the leading gay rights organisation’s former chief executive Ben Summerskill for attacking the Lib Dems’ support for same-sex marriage.

Speaking to PinkNews, Mr Cashman said there had been great support for same-sex marriage across the major political parties, and that Summerskill’s assertion that the Lib Dems were “cynical and opportunistic” in their support for same-sex marriage, went against the “founding principles” of Stonewall.

Ben Summerskill made the remarks in a BBC programme about gay rights, to be broadcast tomorrow on Radio 4, and also in yesterday’s Observer newspaper

Mr Cashman said: “Ben Summerskill can only speak for himself. He certainly does not reflect my experience of cross party support from the Liberal Democrats for same-sex marriage.

“He also fundamentally undermines one of the founding principles of Stonewall, namely that LGBT equality is a cross party issue at the heart of every mainstream political party.”

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has also criticised Mr Summerskill for his comments, saying that he was “sad and disappointed” at the attempt to “divide” the LGBT community on this issue.

Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert also weighed in to say that Mr Summerskill had attempted to “rewrite history” with his comments. 

Mr Summerskill resigned as the boss of Stonewall last month after 11 years at the helm of Britain’s largest gay rights charity.