Same-sex marriage opponent Stephen Crabb launches bid for Conservative leadership

Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb has confirmed a bid to become the next Prime Minister.

The Conservative Party is currently in the process of nominating candidates to replace David Cameron as party leader, after he announced he would resign in wake of the Brexit vote.

Front-runners include Home Secretary Theresa May and Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt are believed to be sounding out support for a bid, along with former cabinet minister Liam Fox. Now a dark horse of the competition has officially confirmed his candidacy.

The MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, Stephen Crabb was only promoted to the cabinet in 2014 and until March was Secretary of State for Wales – but has rapidly gained influence after being promoted to the DWP.

Mr Crabb is now making a bid for the highest office, officially announcing his candidacy for Tory leader and PM.

Business Secretary and former equalities minister Sajid Javid is running alongside him on a ‘joint ticket’ in order to become Mr Crabb’s deputy and Chancellor.

Mr Crabb confirmed his candidacy in an email to Tory MPs, seeking to form a “blue-collar dream team”.

The leadership hopeful voted against same-sex marriage legislation for England and Wales in 2013, though Mr Javid voted in favour.

Mr Crabb appeared unrepentant in an interview with the Mail two months ago, claiming he has “great gay friends” but stood by his vote because he disagreed with “forcing churches ‘to change their core doctrine to comply with it”.

He said last year: “It wasn’t a clear-cut vote for me, but I don’t regret any vote I’ve taken.”

A source close to one cabinet minister told PinkNews: “Stephen Crabb still hasn’t apologised for opposing same-sex marriage, one of David Cameron’s key legacies.”

In the past, Mr Crabb has faced questions over his links to a group which sponsored a gay ‘cure’ event.

Mr Crabb was known to have taken interns from Christian Action Research and Education (CARE), an organisation which co-sponsored the “Judaeo-Christian” event ‘Sex and the City: Redeeming sex today’ in 2012

British Humanists branded Mr Crabb “an enemy of reason [who] appears to hold dangerously homophobic opinions”.

Mr Crabb declined to comment the last time PinkNews raised the links, but insisted in an interview with a local news outlet: “Within minutes of me being appointed there were people on social media saying ‘oh he’s got links to gay cure he must be homophobic’ and somebody had mocked up a picture of me with a quote reported to have come from me saying ‘being gay is a disease which needs a cure’ and that’s complete crap.

“I’ve never believed that and it’s not what I believe now.

“Whatever personal beliefs I have, religious or otherwise, homophobia is not a part of it and I don’t believe in gay cure therapy.

“Yes I’m a Christian, I’ve got very clear views on that but believing in gay cure therapies is not what I believe and has never been what I believe.”

However, he has a close alliance with out Scottish Tory Ruth Davidson, who has defended him and previously hinted that she would back his run.

Earlier this week, PinkNews released a 10-point plan of issues on which all Tory leadership candidates must agree to keep momentum going on LGBT rights.