Sherwood MP Mark Spencer abstains from gay marriage vote

SHERWOOD MP Mark Spencer says he abstained from voting on the controversial issue of equal marriage for homosexual couples because he was unable to represent the views of his divided constituency.

Tuesday’s 225-vote in-favour majority, which was greeted in Parliament with rare applause in the public gallery, was marred for Prime Minister David Cameron when more than half of the parliamentary Tory party declined to support the Government on the issue he has personally invested in.

Conservative MP Mr Spencer, who represents Hucknall, said: “It is my role to represent the views of my constituency and that becomes very challenging when their views are directly opposed to each other. On this issue, I found it impossible to represent the views of my constituents as there are some very diverse views. I’ve been subjected to some repulsive and abusive letters and e-mails prior to the vote and made a decision to abstain.

“In truth, I’m disappointed that the government decided to bring this forward as it really has no place interfering in people’s lives. If a committed gay couple want to cement that commitment, it is not my permission to comment.

“However, for the churches it puts them into a very difficult position, going against their core beliefs.”

The prime minister welcomed the vote, tweeting: “Strong views exist on both sides, but I believe MPs voting for gay people being able to marry too, is a step forward for our country.”

Mr Spencer added: “My gay friends all seem to be of the opinion that there are bigger and more important issues at hand, like the economy, jobs and what’s happening locally. It has all turned into a bit of a sideshow.”

Bulwell MP Graham Allen was one of 217 Labour MPs to vote in favour of the same-sex marriage legislation.

Mr Allen said: “I think that people who love each other should be able to create a marriage and enjoy the same happiness a man and woman share through marriage.”