A former Conservative MP has issued a public apology for his vote against the introduction of gay marriage in England and Wales.
Sir John Randall was first elected as the MP for Uxbridge, West London, in a 1997 by-election and served until 2015. In a statement to Buzzfeed News, he explained that he had few regrets about his time in Parliament but “almost as soon as I voted against same sex marriage I knew I had made a mistake”.
He explained that he justified it at the time by telling himself that as he knew the measure was going to pass his vote was not crucial. Sir John also made the excuse that “had civil partnerships been allowed for heterosexual couples” in the legislation he would have voted for it. However on reflection he believes that his decision “was not courageous”.
The former Deputy Chief Whip said he should have known he would be on the wrong side of this issue as “those who wanted to me to vote for [same sex marriage] were some of the nicest people I came across, something that couldn’t be said about those opposing”.
His statement concluded:
“I can honestly say, I was wrong and I am sorry not to have been able to see it at the time.”
This apology came in response to the news site emailing everyone who voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act asking them how they felt about their choice three years after the first ceremonies took place. The vote on gay marriage in the House of Commons was held in May 2013, with 366 MPs voting in favour and 161 against. But within the Conservative Party more MPs voted against the legislation than for it by a margin of 133 to 117.
Since then, marriage rights for gay couples have been introduced in Scotland and Ireland. Now the only part of the British Isles in which same sex marriage has not been legalised is Northern Ireland.
Photo by juancolado3 via Flickr under the Public Domain.