Senior Conservative activists have joined together in support of gay marriage in an open-letter published today. Paul Swaddle, President of the National Convention - the most senior Conservative volunteer - is joined by over 50 others in support of the proposed change.
The list includes constituency and area chairmen from every part of the country, including those representing 15 of the most marginal seats, indicating the depth of support for gay marriage in the grassroots of the Conservative Party. This support matches that in wider society where all polls show voters are happy to allow same-sex marriages to become law.
Letter from senior Party activists
Please do not allow the impression that all Conservative Party activists are opposed to gay marriage. Many of us strongly agree with the proposal.
Nor is it true that gay marriage has no mandate. David Cameron made his support for it clear in his first Conference speech as Party Leader, and won loud applause. It was in the Party’s Equalities Manifesto at the last election.
We agree that there are many vital issues for the Government to tackle. But marriage and how we treat minorities are important issues, too.
The polls show that a substantial majority of the public support gay marriage. That number is increasing, and young people are even more in favour.
We appreciate the concerns of some of our supporters. But the freedom of faith groups to disagree is protected in the Bill. By opposing gay marriage outright, we risk alienating the voters we will need in 2015.
To win, the Conservative Party must mount a broad appeal. We urge our MPs to listen to the wider views of their electorate as they decide how to vote.
Signed by Paul Swaddle, President of the Conservative National Convention and over 50 further senior Conservatives
Nicholas Allen, Doncaster Central, Chairman
James Bellis, Vauxhall, Chairman
Peter Booth, Brighton Kemptown, Chairman
Anne Broomhead, Salford, Chairman
Mark Brown, Edinburgh West, Chairman
Paul Buckley, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Deputy Chairman
Tim Caines, Tottenham, Chairman
Alex Coleman, Reading East, Deputy Chairman
Gareth Compton, Birmingham Erdington, Chairman
Jim Cooper, Heartlands, Area Chairman
Alistair Corrie, Wokingham, Deputy Chairman
Daniel Cowdrill, Birmingham Ladywood, Chairman
Graham Cox, Brighton & Hove, Chairman
Tom Doyle, Wealden, Officer
Simon Fox, Camberwell & Peckham, Chairman
Anthony Gearing, Oxfordshire, Councillor
Stephen Haraldsen, Copeland, Chairman
Tim Harris, Reading Borough Council, Conservative Group Leader
Janet Harris, Haringey, Conservative Women's Organisation Chairman
Jeff Hill, Halesowen & Rowley Regis, Deputy Chairman
Justin Hinchcliffe, Tottenham, Deputy Chairman
Oliver Johnstone, Hazel Grove, Deputy Chairman
Mike Jordan, North Yorkshire, County Councillor
Simon Kitchen, Camberwell & Peckham, Deputy Chairman
Iain Lindley, Salford, Deputy Chairman
Liam Marshall-Ascough, Crawley, Former Chairman
Iain McGill, Edinburgh North & Leith, Chairman
Andrew Merrill, Ellesmere Port & Neston, Deputy Chairman
Sally Roberts, London, Conservative Women's Organisation Chairman
Chris Rowell, North Yorkshire, Conservative Future Chairman
Gary Sambrook, Birmingham Erdington, Treasurer
Matthew Sephton, Altrincham & Sale, Deputy Chairman
Damon Shinnie, Birmingham Edgbaston, Deputy Chairman
Dr Ben Spencer, Camberwell, Deputy Chairman
Alison Swaddle, Reading East, Chairman
Thomas Turrell, Greenwich, Deputy Chairman
Craig Ulliot, Hull West & Hessle, Deputy Chairman
Robert Waltham, Brigg & Goole, Chairman
Mark Wells, Doncaster Central, Former Chairman
Mike Wood, Stourbridge, Former Chairman
Matt Davies, Portsmouth North, Deputy Chairman
Michael Rutherford, South London, Area Officer
Mike Flynn, Cardiff Central, Chairman
Chris Costigan, Chipping Barnet, Deputy Chairman
Lindsay Paterson, Scotland, Vice Chairman
Robert McIlveen, Lewisham Deptford, Chairman
Allan Finnie, East Kilbride , Strathaven and Lesmahagow, Vice Chairman
Daniel Hawkridge, York University, Chairman
Rob Bailey, North West, Chairman
Derek Johnson, Birmingham Erdington, Deputy Chairman
Emma Warman, Berkshire, Deputy Chairman
Marcus Llewellyn-Rothschild, Hornchurch & Upminster, Chairman
Christine Mackay, West Hull and Hessle, Deputy Chairman