Margot James: The Tories and Labour are ‘level’ on equality issues

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Out Conservative candidate Margot James has claimed that the Conservative and Labour parties are on a “level setting” on equality matters.

The Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Stourbridge – who served as a Member of Parliament from 2010 and was one of just two openly lesbian MPs in the last session of Parliament – made the comments in an interview with Attitude.

She said: “I wouldn’t put LGBT issues aside if I felt there was a marked difference between the parties on them – that’s one thing to make clear – but I don’t think there is.

“I respect that the Labour party presided over groundbreaking reform that the Conservative Party took far too long to embrace, and I quite accept that – but I think those days have passed, and the parties are on a level setting in terms of equality matters.

“I think that other issues should probably be at play when people make up their minds on how to vote.”

Despite the claims, the parties hold a number of fundamentally different policies on LGBT issues.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has pledged to follow Barack Obama in appointing an LGBT rights envoy if elected in May – but David Cameron said he would rather all diplomats considered LGBT rights.

The Labour Party has also committed to introducing statutory sex and relationship education in schools – while Tory Education Minister Nicky Morgan has led a campaign to tackle homophobia in schools without supporting statutory SRE.

The Labour party also plans to bring forward further legislation to ‘pardon’ the criminal convictions of men convicted of historic gay sex offences – while David Cameron already introduced a law to instead expunge the convictions in the 2012 Protection of Freedoms Act.

Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Gloria De Piero wrote for PinkNews yesterday pledging to review the Gender Recognition Act, while the Conservatives are yet to promise a review.