UK: Up to Two Thirds of Conservatives May Not Vote for Marriage Equality Bill; Marriage Tax Credit Dropped

Written by scott on February 2nd, 2013

London ParliamentWith a vote on England and Wales’ marriage equality bill just days away, reports are surfacing that between a third and two thirds of conservative MP’s may vote against the bill, the Global Post reports:

Not only are backbenchers in the centre-right party, which governs in coalition with the smaller Liberal Democrats, likely to vote against the bill but grass-roots Tories are also turning away, newspapers said. Reports suggested that between 130 and 200 of the 303 Conservative lawmakers will not back the bill when it is debated in parliament’s lower House of Commons for the first time on Tuesday.

Some are spooked by a new poll of conservative voters:

A ComRes poll of just over 2,000 people who voted Conservative at the 2010 general election, found that 20 percent of them agreed that they “would have considered voting Conservative at the next election but will definitely not if the coalition government legalises same-sex marriage”.

Some may also be upset that a special tax break for married couples, rumored to be included as a sweetener for conservative votes, will not be part of the bill. Gay Star News says:

The tax break is in the coalition agreement but Liberal Democrat MPs would be allowed to abstain. It is expected that one member of a married couple or civil partnership would be able to move #750 of their tax-free personal allowance to their partner, reducing their tax bill. This would be worth about #150 a year to basic-rate taxpayers. A senior government source said, however: ‘It won’t be in the Budget but it will be in this parliament. This Budget obviously, with all that has happened in recent weeks and months, will be very much focused on growth in the economy’.

However, Pink News is reporting that Labour Leader Ed Milliband thinks Labour will come out in droves to vote for the bill:

Labour leader Ed Miliband has predicted that the majority of his party will support equal marriage when it goes to a vote on Tuesday in the House of Commons. Mr Miliband told The House magazine he expected a “big turnout of Labour MPs in full support” of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Lots of drama in the UK and France this week – who would have thought that both these countries would be debating marriage equality at the same time?


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