MP Ben votes for gay marriage plan
EXETER'S Labour MP Ben Bradshaw backed plans to legalise gay marriage which exposed deep divisions within the Conservative Party.
The former culture secretary was joined by Hugo Swire, Tory MP for East Devon and foreign office minister, in helping the historic proposals clear their first Commons hurdle by a big margin of 400 votes to 175 – a majority of 225.
But more than 130 Tories voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill's second reading. They included Anne Marie Morris for Newton Abbot, Neil Parish for Tiverton and Honiton, and Mel Stride for Central Devon. The vote followed more than six hours of impassioned debate on the proposed legislation.
Mr Bradshaw criticised the opposition of the Church of England to the Bill, arguing it was "a residual prejudice against same-sex relationships".
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He said: "I entirely support the Government's decision to make this a permissive law, allowing those religions and denominations that wish to celebrate the loving same-sex relationships of their members to do so."
Letters: Page 33