As David Cameron continues to insist that he and his Conservative Party have “changed”, and are now more gay friendly than their rivals, a little fact-checking could be helpful. Stonewall UK have analysed the voting records of individual MP’s over recent years, which they have published here. The results make fascinating reading. on a simple scoring system in which 100 represents a vote in favour of the Stonewall position on every occasion, 50 is neutral, and zero is a vote against the Stonewall position at every opportunity, we find a clear pattern: overall, the Conservatives have been opposed far more often than they have been for LGBT rights (roughly three times as often), while both the Labour and the Liberal Democrats have been mostly supportive. The overall pattern is summarised in this graph.
The detail is also worth examining. The three most supportive Conservative MP’s each had a score of just 64%, barly lukewarm. On the other hand, the three least supportive had scores of precisely zero – they opposed the Stonewall position on every single occasion. Only 12% of Conservative MP’s (i.e., one in eight) had scores over 50 %, indicating that they were for us more than they were against us. Nor was this just a case of Cameron failing to pull his party behind him: his own record, at just 36% support, was just barely ahead of his caucus average – 21%.
In very sharp contrast, Labour and Liberal Democrats generally voted fairly closely in accordance with the Stonewall positions: two-thirds of Labour MPs and just over a half of the Lib Dems voted in favour over 8o% of the time, only one in ten Lib Dems and one in twenty Labour MPs voted against more than half the time. The really depressing part of this is that these calculations are based on the House of Commons votes only. The record shows that the Conservative peers in the Lords, and the MEP’s in Europe, are even more hostile than their Commons colleagues.