Commons Speaker calls for LGBT equality at Chanukah celebration

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The Speaker of the House of Commons has called for LGBT rights at a Chanukah celebration in Parliament this evening.

In remarks made at the Annual Parliamentary Chanukah Reception, John Bercow, who is Jewish, praised Conservative Vice Chair and MP for Finchley and Golders Green Mike Freer for his work campaigning for same-sex marriage, for which he won a PinkNews Award in 2013. 

Commenting on a need for minority groups to work together, and recognise common denominators in fighting for equality, Mr Bercow made the comments in front of Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who last year vowed to maintain an “orthodox” stance against same-sex marriage, and a number of prominent members of the Jewish community.

The reception was jointly hosted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the All Party Group on British Jews and featured speeches by Yvette Cooper, who called on internet companies to clamp down on online anti semitism and other forms of hate speech.

Mr Bercow said: “It behoves us all of us in the Jewish community, a group in fighting for its rights, in a cause which should motivate another group in fighting for its rights. And Mike has been and remains a vociferous and effective champion of the equality of peoples and that is something I think we should salute.”

Mike Freer told PinkNews, in response to the words from Mr Bercow: “It was very kind – if you believe in equality, whatever minority rights you are arguing for, there is a common thread.”

John Bercow hosted the PinkNews Awards 2014 in Speaker’s House for a second year running.