Tory MEP: UK Parliament not Brussels should decide on LGBT rights

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Departing MEP Marina Yannakoudakis says she “understands” why her Tory colleagues in the European Parliament have decided not to sign ILGA-Europe’s pledge on LGBT rights.

Ms Yannakoudakis, who on Sunday evening lost her London MEP seat and leaves the European Parliament on 1 July, previously signed ILGA-Europe’s LGBT rights pledge.

Twenty one of the UK’s 73 newly elected MEPs have signed the pledge, which urges Members of the European Parliament to advance LGBT rights over the next five years.

Labour, Sein Fein, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party were all signatories.

But the Conservative Party and UKIP appeared absent from the list.

The Chairman of LGBTory, Colm Howard-Lloyd, said it was because the pledge meant “taking powers away from the UK”, with issues such as equal marriage moving to the European Parliament and away from individual member states.

ILGA-Europe rejected Mr Howard-Lloyd’s remarks, saying “it is wrong to suggest we even address marriage equality in our work at EU level”.

An ILGA spokesperson added: “What we are calling for is an EU-wide strategy for LGBTI equality, similar to those already existing on gender equality, rights of Roman and people with disabilities.”

But Marina Yannakoudakis told PinkNews that the concerns expressed by Mr Howard-Lloyd were justified.

“In spite of being a vocal supporter of LGBT rights and a member of the European Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup, I was in two minds about signing the ILGA pledge,” she said to

“I, like many Conservatives, am not keen on signing pledges, but as this is an important issue, I signed.

“However I indicated that my support was for LGBT rights in general rather than for a federalist approach which would leave Brussels rather than national parliaments as the final arbiter for LGBT rights.

“I can understand why many MEPs and candidates who don’t believe in a federal Europe would be unwilling to sign such a pledge and ILGA is making mischief by suggesting there were anti-equality reasons for not signing.”