Tony Blair: Equal marriage was a rare moment of unity in British politics

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Tony Blair has told PinkNews that same-sex marriage “was probably one of the few times” when the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour have “agreed on anything.”

The former Prime Minister was among several Labour figures to attend a party marking Michael Cashman’s contribution to politics and LGBT rights in central London last night.

Mr Cashman officially retired as a Member of the European Parliament on Wednesday.

A video tribute from all four surviving Labour leaders, Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Neil Kinnock, was played out ahead of Tony and Cherie Blair’s surprise arrival.

The ex-PM and his wife mingled with guests and posed for photographs.

Mr Blair told that passing same-sex marriage for England and Wales: “Was probably one of the few times when all [of the three main parties] have agreed on anything.”

Mr Blair also referred to his participation in a Radio 4 documentary covering gay history.

He joked that PinkNews “must have been one of the few to have heard it.”

In the programme, broadcast in May this year, Mr Blair praised the current government for taking gay equality “to a further stage”, but also suggested, with the benefit of hindsight, that it’s possible Labour could have been even bolder with its introduction of civil partnerships in 2005.

“I think at the time we worked this out quite carefully in conjunction with the gay community and it seemed like the right thing to do – but I also think it’s right now to take [civil partnerships] to a further stage.

“I don’t know looking back whether it might have been possible to have gone that way [for same-sex marriage] right at the beginning, but at the time it seemed like a very big step – and indeed was.”