Eric Pickles: Dolce and Gabbana are ‘beyond offensive’ but I’m against a boycott

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Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has slammed Dolce and Gabbana for their “offensive” remarks about same-sex parents, but says a boycott is not the best way to proceed.

The senior Tory was asked about the row on LBC today, after the fashion pair caused widespread offence by slamming “non-traditional” same-sex parents and branding children born through IVF as “synthetic”.

Mr Pickles replied: “I find it beyond offensive. The idea that people that have got a stable relationship can’t adopt … seems to be utterly anathema to me.

“I have to say, a few years back I had a different view, absolutely. I originally voted against gay adoption, I think I voted against gay marriage some time back.”

Mr Pickles actually voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act at second and third reading in 2013.

Pushed on what triggered his decision to support same-sex marriage, Mr Pickles replied: “Well, to tell you the truth, simply friends – going to people’s houses, seeing a stable couple together. Seeing constituents who’d wanted to have a proper legally recognised relationship.

“And I just thought, ‘you just can’t be so mean, you can’t be so narrow-minded, you can’t be so prejudiced.’ So I did a complete, 180 degrees and I’ve never regretted it.”

Mr Pickles also said he opposed a boycott of the Dolce and Gabbana fashion house, saying: “The world’s too small. You can’t replace one piece of hate with another piece of hate.”

Calls by Sir Elton John for a boycott of Dolce and Gabbana have quickly gathered pace, with support from celebrities including Matt Lucas, Sharon Stone and Courtney Love.

Victoria Beckham, a close friend of Sir Elton John and David Furnish, also tweeted her “love” for IVF babies.

But a few celebrities, most notably former Mirror editor Piers Morgan and ex-Apprentice contestant Katie Hopkins have criticised the boycott, describing it as “bullying” and threatening freedom of expression.

Dolce and Gabbana have defended their comments – with Domenico Dolce insisting that he does not judge those for starting a family in a “non-traditional way”.

In 2006, Stefano Gabbana told Vanity Fair that he had asked a female friend to carry his child via artificial insemination.