ONE of the most senior Conservatives on Suffolk County Council has said he will not vote for his MP again after this week’s vote on equal marriage.

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Cabinet member Guy McGregor said he could not support Dr Dan Poulter again after the junior health minister joined the prime minister and most other members of the government to vote for the legalisation of gay marriage.

Mr McGregor, who is a member of the Diocesan Synod and a church warden near his home at Hoxne in north Suffolk, said he could not support the change because he saw it as an attack on the traditional family.

He said he had made his position clear to the MP.

He said: “I will not support him or vote for him again. He knows this and knows why I have taken this decision.

“I have always made this position clear and I tried to have a debate on this at the constituency AGM last year, but it was ruled out of order by the association president.”

Mr McGregor said he accepted that the government now recognised civil partnerships – but could not accept the concept of gay marriage.

Many other grassroot Conservatives shared his view, he added.

Dr Poulter said he had become aware of Mr McGregor’s views on gay rights during a conversation at a social event last year.

He had had a number of letters from constituents on the subject of equal marriage both before and after the vote, they were split more or less equally.

“Among Conservative supporters, a slight majority of the letters I have had have been in favour of allowing gay marriages,” he said.

Dr Poulter said he respected the views of those who disagreed with his support for gay marriages.

“One of my closest friends in parliament is (Waveney MP) Peter Aldous, and he voted against the bill. We respect each other’s opinion. It was a free vote and we could vote according to our conscience.”

He had also had two letters from vicars who wanted to be able to carry out marriage ceremonies for gay couples in church.

He said: “I have always made it clear I see this as a question of equality, and if the vote was to happen again tomorrow I would vote the same way.”

One of the clergy who wrote to Dr Poulter was Whitton rector Rev Andrew Dotchin, who said: “There are gay couples who take an active role in the church. Why can they not enjoy the sacrament of marriage there as well?”

Dr Poulter also has the backing of his local Conservative association.

Constituency chairman Christopher Hudson, who is also a county councillor, said: “Our local MP retains the full backing of the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich Conservative Association.”

Mr Hudson said that many people in the association, particularly in the rural part of the constituency, shared Mr McGregor’s opposition to the equal marriage bill.

However he wished that Mr McGregor had spoken to him first before expressing his concern in such terms.

The issue had been ruled out of order at the association’s AGM, but had been discussed at a Conservative forum later – a meeting that Mr McGregor had been unable to attend.

Mr McGregor had been re-selected as a candidate for May’s county council elections and would remain a party candidate unless he decided to resign.

13 comments

  • Mr McGregor is welcome to his views as freedom through democracy is essential value of this nation, but his comment does worry me about the real nature of the County Council. Are they really responsible for Education, Social Services and Wellbeing?

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    Peter Wyburn

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • There are far more important issues here than the outdated views of an out of touch establishmentarian, minority figure such as Guy McGregor. That he wealds any level of power is a shameful indictment of our political system. Religion has no legitimacy in politics now because it matters to so few of the people of this country. It is an outrage that religious representatives and opinions have any involvement in law making bodies and legislation creation. Religious self righteousness and bigotry has been and remains one of the greatest scourges of mankind, it has caused countless wars, suffering, prejudice and hatred. It has no place in a civilised, educated society and people that use their faith as a weapon of perceived morality are deluded and should be despised. What makes this “religious Tory establishment” view even sadder is that, above all, the Christian faith is based on love, forgiveness, tolerance, and fairness for all. The idea of Mr McGregor’s “traditional” family is most interesting; presumably somewhere tucked in there would be a smidgen of elitist education for the sons (ideally with dormitories and beatings), sowing lessons for the daughters, a male dominated household with power enshrined by membership of some secret male society with all the benefits of the old boys club and old school tie. No doubt children born out of wedlock would be disowned and heretics still burnt at the stake if these zealots had their way. Incidentally the concept of “traditional” is entirely arbitrary based merely on your chosen period of history and personal perspective to select the bits you fancy to suit your chosen mental model. For example it could be considered a pretty Victorian period tradition view. It was also traditional then for; women to not have the vote (and often suffer appallingly entrapped in violent marriages), slavery, locking away people with special needs, the work house and abject poverty of the lower classes. Perhaps most regretfully in this national episode is why such debate and rancour is being focused on this subject and why now. Important as it is as a point of justice with respect to diversity and equality and the removal of prejudice to members of our society, there are frankly far more important pressing matters. We have soldiers dying abroad, an economy it tatters (because idiot politicians, Maggie and Gordon Brown for two, thought financial services created value (of course it did create super wealth for the few greedy and selfish banker types who took their big fat bonuses and pay-offs) , letting our manufacturing sectors be decimated in the process), a public sector deficit that is unsustainable, a health service that costs billions and provides poor standards of care (and in Stafford’s case kills people), an education system that is failing young people letting them leave compulsory education without basic skills in English, maths and ICT, a transport infrastructure that is decades behind where it needs to be (simply putting 50 mph signs up hardly improves things does it). The politicians, civil servants, and quangos are more motivated by their own jobs and survival than the good of the rest of us. They fight and squabble over their budgets, their pecking order and their self preservation. Gay marriage is being used as a diversion by the establishment, the only saving grace is that it’s a lot cheaper than starting yet another war (which is just as well as they are making lots of our soldiers redundant right now. Thankfully we live in a type of democracy where Mr McGregor is allowed to have an opinion and so is Dr Poulter. Dr Poulter is at least the elected MP and it was a free vote so he should be able to vote with his conscience. Mr McGregor can chose to support whomever he likes although I do wonder if his withdrawal of support has left the good Dr quaking in his boots. However, what I wonder even more is how on earth do we get these Muppets to focus on what really matters right now instead of their own self importance and self-interests.

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    rationalman

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • It's people like Guy McGregor that make the Tories so unpalatable to everyone outside their core elderly vote. Everyone I speak to under 35 regards gay marriage as a problem, in fact most minds boggle at the outrage it's causing. If two people who love each other want to marry, why shouldn't they. Nobody's life will be any the worse for it and some may be considerably better. It's a no brainer. I can't imagine living a life where something so innocuous causes me such turmoil, it must be very tiring being as angry as Guy McGregor. To refuse to continue to support a hard working MP over an issue on which there was a free vote and much public support (as well as opposition) is at best churlish and at worst a mark of a generation so out of touch with modern thinking it's borderline bigoted.

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    CM1981

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • This is an issue of equality ie. gay people having the same rights as straight people. I'm no fan of Mr Poulter's views ordinarily but Mr McGregor has clearly shown himself to be totally out of touch on this. Hopefully he and his like-minded colleagues at the County Council won't be seeking re-election this year - I for one won't be voting for them.

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    skrich

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

  • Good on Dan Poulter, for doing the right thing, like the 399 other MPs who voted for it. Despite what they might think, views like those of Guy McGregor are completely out of touch with public opinion. The reactionary elements of the Conservative party have really shown their true colours in the past few days.

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    IpswichExile

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • I agree with ML on this. Mr McGregor would probably be happier regressing a couple of hundred years, so that he can vote against the abolition of slavery and not let those hopeless women have a voice either.

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    Dave Love

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • It's shameful that Dave has pushed this through without a mandate from anyone. Clearly too important to ask the electorate their views at the next general election. Seems like our local MPs are more interested in keeping in with Dave rather than any real conviction about equality as the proposal does not give equal rights for all, just changes the position of some.

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    amsterdam81

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • I'm no Tory, but credit to Dr Poulter for voting like a decent person. Oh, and Mr McGregor, history will show you to be on the shameful side of this argument.

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    M L

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • This particular issue has really helped to reveal the true nature of certain reactionary sections of the Tory party. Behind the public mask of respectability you find a particularly distasteful mix of bigotry and prejudice. Credit must go to to MPs Poulter and Gummer for voting for gay marriage. Shame on those, like Therese Coffey, who didn't.

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    Origami Penguin

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Sorry, that should read nobody, not everyone!

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    CM1981

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Personally I couldn't care less about this issue, but it higlights the trouble with MPs voting not on what the public want, (if indeed that is the case) but on their own self centred religious beliefs. Religion should have no place in politics, otherwise everyone would be subject to different laws pertaining to whatever religion they follow. How can you pass a law, but allow religious organisations not to be subject to it. By these double standards. presumably teachers with religious beliefs can teach children that evolution is wrong and that their religious books are the real truth. Lets never get to the stage like the Americans where every political speach ends with "God save America".

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    england1770

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Perhaps this could be because Mr Mcgregor was overlooked for selection as MP when Dr Dan was parachuted in by Dave Cameron and perhaps it is the thirst for power rather than a matter of principle that could be the real driver for this public outburst.

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    EBenton

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • It's shameful that Dave has pushed this through without a mandate from anyone. Clearly too important to ask the electorate their views at the next general election. Seems like our local MPs are more interested in keeping in with Dave rather than any real conviction about equality as the proposal does not give equal rights for all, just changes the position of some.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Friday, February 8, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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