Ealing MPs and the Marriage Bill

Against, abstained and didn't vote

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Virendra Sharma didn't vote but says he maintains commitment to gay rights.

Marriage Bill - Why I Abstained - Angie Bray Explains


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Ealing's three political representatives failed to support the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill - which was passed by 225 votes in parliament last night.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the vote had been "an important step forward" and Labour leader Ed Miliband called it a "proud day".

MPs were given a free vote, meaning they were not ordered to vote a particular way by party whips.

The Ealing North Labour MP, Stephen Pound, voted against the bill, Ealing Central and Acton (Con) MP,Angie Bray, abstained (by voting for and against), and Ealing Southall representative Virendra Sharma (Lab) didn't vote.

Mr Sharma says he was representing the views of his constituents:

''Thank you for contacting me recently about the vote on same sex marriage.

''I have received a considerable amount of correspondence from constituents making passionate pleas about their views on same sex marriage. I was sent over 460 letters, emails and petition signatures of which 36 were in favour and more than 400 opposed to the Marriage (Same sex Couples) Bill.

''My first concern as Member of Parliament for Ealing Southall is obviously to represent the views of my constituents in the House of Commons.

''The overwhelming response from the community in the constituency was concern over the impact of opening marriage to same sex couples. I consulted with religious organisations of various denominations, such as the British Sikh Consultative Forum, St Anselm’s Church, the Hindu and Muslim communities which represent a large number of my constituents, which have shown their unease with the impact of the Bill on their religious beliefs and practices. Many institutions also wrote expressing their opposition to this Bill in the newspapers.

''On balance, it is for this reason that I decided to abstain in the vote on the second reading of the Bill to respect the wishes of my constituents.

''I, however, maintain my commitment to human rights and to gay rights. It is vital that individuals of all ethnicities, genders, faiths and sexual preferences benefit from the same rights in our society and I have always worked towards insuring equality in these respects. I am also proud of Labour’s and my personal record in securing further equality for the LGBT community through the scrapping of Section 28, the Equality Act and the introduction of Civil Partnerships.''




6th February 2013

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