One million leaflets sent to marginal seats over redefining marriage

Jan 10, 2013

Voters in dozens of marginal seats across the country are being urged to lobby their MPs against the Government’s undemocratic plans to redefine marriage.

Activists from the Coalition for Marriage, (C4M) will be delivering one million leaflets as part of a drive to target 65 key seats over coming weeks.

The leaflets urge voters to contact their MP and have their say on this issue.

The list of 65 constituencies includes dozens of marginal seats held by the Conservatives, Lib Dems or Labour. Other MPs in the 65 seats have failed to declare which way they intend to vote, or have given contradictory statements on the subject.

And the campaign got underway earlier this week in a series of on-street initiatives in marginal seats in the South West (see pictures), to be rolled out in key locations across England and Wales in the coming days.

Colin Hart, C4M Campaign Director said: “Our local activists are fired up to oppose these undemocratic proposals from a Government that is increasingly looking out of touch with ordinary men and women.

“MPs should expect their local voters to press them on where they stand on the redefinition of marriage and why the Leaders of the three main parties continue to make this a top priority when poll after poll shows that the policy does not enjoy popular support and voters don’t believe the PMs motives on introducing the changes.”

The escalation in the campaign to protect the meaning of marriage comes after the Government has repeatedly refused to rule out using the Parliament Act and limiting debate in a bid to “ram through” the legislation in just a few months.

The failure to rule out the use of the Parliament Act, dubbed the “nuclear option” was greeted with disbelief by traditional marriage campaigners.

The use of the Parliament Act would be highly controversial and is likely to increase tensions between MPs, peers and the Government over the legislation. Mr Cameron is already facing the biggest rebellion of any post-war Conservative Prime Minister and the largest rebellion against a government since the Iraq War vote nearly a decade ago.

And the scale of opposition to the plans to ram the legislation through Parliament was laid bare earlier this week by two new ComRes polls of more than 250 parliamentarians. The first poll of 151 MPs found two thirds (65 per cent) of MPs oppose the use of the Parliament Act, while just one in four (26 per cent) support its use.

Among Conservative MPs, opposition rose sharply with more than eight in ten (82 per cent) saying they oppose the use of the Parliament Act, compared to just six per cent who do. More Labour MPs oppose the use of the legislation (47 per cent) than support it (44 per cent) while more than half of Lib Dems oppose the use of the Parliament Act.

The results of the second poll of 106 peers were even more stark. Asked if the Government should use the Parliament Act to pass its proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, three-quarters (74 per cent) disagreed, while fewer than a quarter (23 per cent) agreed.

In a move that will be seen as a rebuke to the Secretary of State, 100 per cent of Conservative peers said they opposed the use of the Parliament Act. Even among Labour and cross-bench peers, there was clear opposition to the use of the Parliament Act, 67 per cent and 76 per cent respectively.

In a further blow to Mr Cameron, a majority of peers (56 per cent) said that the Government should not proceed with legislation unless there was broad support for the policy following the consultation. Conservative and cross-bench peers felt this most strongly, with three-quarters (75 per cent) of Tories and two-thirds (67 per cent) of cross-benchers opposing legislation that did not enjoy broad support.

The poll also found that more than half of Conservative and cross-bench peers think the policy should be delayed. Asked if the Government should postpone the decision about whether to legalise same-sex marriage until after the next General Election, more than two thirds (69 per cent) of Conservative peers and more than half (52 per cent) of cross bench peers agreed.

Mr Hart concluded: “The Government’s proposals to shut down debate and ignore the views of MPs and peers are disgraceful, but depressingly are not surprising and further evidence of the contempt shown to ordinary people by Mr Cameron and his inner circle.”

“These plans are unpopular and divisive. The voters were ignored by the politicians, this was in no party’s manifesto and the public consultation was a sham. Day by day the case for holding a referendum on this issue grows. If Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg believe this policy is both the right thing to do and popular why do they not trust the British people and let them have their say?

“Until we get a referendum C4M will continue to make sure that ordinary people can have their say and remind those MPs who have seem to have forgotten that they are servant of the public not their masters.”