Tory MP Bob Seely: For dictators, gays are the new Jews

Bob Seely celebrating a gay Pride festival

Tory MP Bob Seely has declared that gay people “are the new Jews” around the world.

The MP for the Isle of Wight made the comments as he marked the Isle of Wight’s Pride festival.

In a column for Huffington Post, Bob Seely – who “danced away on the back of a Hovertravel hovercraft float” during the gay Pride event on Saturday – explained that he was not a “natural supporter” of LGBT rights as a young man.

Tory MP Bob Seely

He added: “Since then, it has slowly but surely dawned on me that gay rights is everybody’s battle.”

Explaining his political motivations, he said: “For many dictators, gays are the new Jews. Sexual equality has become, through the manipulation of fear and bigotry by authoritarian rulers, the frontline of a global battle for human rights and for tolerant societies.

“Take a look at any authoritarian state. They pick on people, always with some squalid justification. The Nazis did it on such a grotesque scale that anti-Semitism came – literally and figuratively – out of the ghetto. It became everyone’s litmus test.

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“The same is now happening to the gay community.”

He added: “I started learning this lesson thanks to the remarkable Peter Tatchell. My disinterest in his campaigns turned to admiration when he had the gumption to attempt a citizens’ arrest Robert Mugabe. At the time when we were gutless in dealing with the land-thieving Zimbabwean leader, Tatchell was the only person in Britain with the cojones to confront him – and got beaten up as a result.

“Then, there is Russia. The Russian state’s hostility to gays isn’t really about disapproval of sexuality, it’s about finding a minority and getting others to hate them. Beating up gay people – figuratively and metaphorically – helps force an illiberal agenda on millions of people. It’s a disgusting way to control other humans; tolerance is weakness, group revulsion strength.

“I am neither a fan of political correctness nor gesture politics, but I understand that the defence of my rights starts with the defence of Tatchell’s.”

Tory MP Bob Seely (centre) with Isle of Wight Pride organiser Yve White and Eurovision singer Conchita Wurst

The MP added that he was “grown-up enough to grow into” the view that “people who have the strengthen of character to love each other and to allow themselves to be loved, are wonderful and to be admired.”

An estimated 15,000 people attended the Pride event, which was this year’s UKPride celebration.

Seely’s support for the Pride parade marks a drastic turnaround from his predecessor.

The MP of 16 years Andrew Turner was forced to scrap his reelection bid in 2017 after telling school students that homosexuality is “dangerous to society” during a discussion about plans for the inaugural Pride event.

Andrew Turner MP

The comments emerged shortly before Turner was due to be reselected as a candidate ahead of the 2017 election.

Instead he confirmed he would not restand. Conservative Party insiders told PinkNews that Turner “resigned before he was pushed”.