Cameron’s homophobic Tory MEPs

While David Cameron attempts to give the impression of Tory party support for mainstream views on LGBT rights, his Tory MEPs in Brussels tow a different line.

In a vote in a full session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday, British Tories failed to support an amendment to human rights legislation put forward by Labour’s Richard Howitt MEP.

“This shows the Tories as they really are. It’s a disgrace that they did not support my amendment calling for, for example, the European Commission to advocate the withdrawal of gender identity from the list of mental and behavioural disorders in their negotiations on the recent version of the International Classification of Diseases.

“Whatever Cameron claims, Tory views on LGBT issues are neanderthal and we saw that in yesterday’s vote,” said Euro-MP Richard Howitt who sponsored the Human Rights Report which was passed by an overwhelming majority of MEPs.

Leading LGBT campaigner, Michael Cashman MEP added “these Tories should explain why they refused to support an engagement in favour of LGBT people’s human rights when the EU negotiates with countries outside the EU and in multilateral forums. It’s important we use our trading power to encourage reform in countries where LGBT people are persecuted.

“We called for the reintroduction by the UN General Assembly of sexual orientation as grounds for protection from extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution also embracing grounds of sex and sexual orientation – this is human decency and every British MEP should fully support it. So why did the Tories abstain?” asked Michael Cashman who co-chairs the European Parliament’s LGBT Inter-group.

Richard Howitt’s amendment was passed by 353 votes to 268 with 52 abstentions. Tories MEPs Nirj Deva and Daniel Hannan voted against the motion, together with the Far Right including the BNP. Other Tory MEPs abstained

The full text of Richard Howitt’s amendment:

108a. Commends the Council, the EEAS, the VP/HR, the Commission and the Member States on their engagement in favour of LGBT people’s human rights in bilateral relations with third countries, in multilateral forums, and through the EIDHR; welcomes the reintroduction by the UN General Assembly of sexual orientation as grounds for protection from extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution, and welcomes the EU’s efforts to this end; calls on the Commission to advocate the withdrawal of gender identity from the list of mental and behavioural disorders in the negotiations on the 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) and to seek a non-pathologising reclassification; reasserts that the principle of non-discrimination, also embracing grounds of sex and sexual orientation, must not be compromised in the ACP-EU partnership; reiterates its request that the Commission produce a comprehensive roadmap against homophobia, transphobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, also addressing human rights violations on these grounds in the world; calls on the Member States to grant asylum to people fleeing persecution in countries where LGBT people are criminalised, taking into consideration applicants’ well founded fears of persecution, and relying on their self-identification as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender;

The following Tories (ECR) abstained on the vote -

ECR: Ashworth, Bradbourn, Callanan, Campbell Bannerman, Chichester, Elles, Ford, Foster, Fox, Girling, Harbour, Kamall, Karim, McClarkin, Nicholson, Stevenson, Sturdy, Swinburne, Tannock, Van Orden

The following Tories (ECR), UKIP (EFD) and BNP (NI) voted against the amendment -

ECR: Bielan, Bokros, Cabrnoch, Czarnecki, Deva, Eppink, Fajmon, Gróbarczyk, Hannan, Kožušník, Legutko, Migalski, Ouzký, Piotrowski, Poręba, Strejček, Szymański, Tomaševski, Tošenovský, Vlasák, Zahradil, Zīle, van Dalen

EFD: (The Earl of) Dartmouth, Agnew, Allam, Andreasen, Batten, Belder, Bizzotto, Bloom, Borghezio, Bufton, Clark, Cymański, Farage, Fontana, Helmer, Kurski, Morganti, Paška, Provera, Rossi, Salvini, Scottà, Speroni, Włosowicz, Ziobro, de Villiers

NI: Binev, Brons, Gollnisch, Griffin, Kovács, Morvai, Mölzer, Obermayr, Severin, Stadler, Stoyanov Dimitar, Szegedi