May 22 2013 Latest news:
By Paul Geater
Saturday, February 16, 2013
SUFFOLK cabinet member Guy McGregor has issued a statement of support for his local Conservative MP – just a week after saying he would not vote for him again.
Mr McGregor is cabinet member for transport and planning at the Tory-controlled county council, and had said he could not support Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter after the minister backed plans to allow gay couples to marry.
At the time he said: “I will not support him or vote for him again. He knows this and knows why I have taken this decision.
“I have always made this position clear and I tried to have a debate on this at the constituency AGM last year, but it was ruled out of order by the association president.”
Mr McGregor’s comments caused concern among grassroot members of the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich Conservative Association.
It is understood that many members shared his concerns about the gay marriage vote – but felt it was unacceptable for such a senior Conservative to say he would no longer support his MP.
Mr McGregor came under pressure from members of his association, and his colleagues on the county council, and has now issued a statement retracting his original comments.
It says: “Last week’s parliamentary vote on gay marriage was an emotive national issue with many people expressing views on either side of the debate.
“For reasons of conscience, religious belief, and reflecting the views of many of my constituents, I for one believe that the sanctity of marriage can only be maintained if it remains an act of commitment between a man and a woman.
“In expressing my views, I made comments about the MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich which I would like to clarify.
“The way a politician chooses to vote on any issue should be subject to legitimate and meaningful debate but ultimately it is for them to decide and to justify their position to the electorate.
“Dan Poulter is doing a good job as MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and he has my support.”
Dr Poulter has written a letter explaining his position on gay marriage which he has sent to constituents who have contacted him about the vote.
In it he said: “I do not believe that it is right to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation and it is for this reason that I shall be voting in favour of the proposals for same-sex marriage.”
However Dr Poulter said he did not want to make any further comment about Mr McGregor’s latest statement.