This was the question up for debate by three MPs – Martin Horwood for the Lib Dems, Emma Reynolds for Labour and Robert Buckland from the Conservatives – at an event we recently co-hosted with the Young European Movement.
On Friday our newly formed “North London Liberal Youth” branch hosted a Pizza & Politics event with Lynne Featherstone MP and Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP.
The event was a huge success, with a good turnout, lively debate and delicious pizza. Topics covered included what the coalition is doing for young people, Sarah’s work in Europe and differences between Conservative and Liberal views on the education system.
Members of London Liberal Youth, and Liberals across London would like to use this opportunity to express our support and solidarity for members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot.
In the wake of verdict finding them guilty of “Hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” we stand together with thousands of protesters across the world decrying this violation of the most basic human right of freedom of expression.
To follow updates on the trial, verdict and global reaction check out the following links:
Liberal Youth’s solidarity campaign to highlight human rights abuses taking place in Belarus – Europe’s Last Dictatorship: #BearsforBelarus
Alexender Lukashenka, President of Belarus, is known as ‘Europe’s last dictator’. Lukashenka has now turned his authoritarian regime on soft toys.
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have had a tough time over tuition fees, so it must’ve been some consolation when he stood the dispatch box this afternoon and declared:
“On the all important issue – the number of applications to university – in the recent UCAS figures… the proportion of English school leavers applying to university is in fact the second highest on record.“
Not only this, but:
“The percentage of 18yr olds from disadvantaged areas applying to university – according to the figures we’ve seen overnight – is higher than at any time under the Labour government.“
With the arrogance and deception that serves only to show the worst side of politics, traditional ‘partners in crime’ the Conservatives and The Sun newspaper have attacked the Liberal Democrats with allegations of homophobia.
Given their recent loss – by just 23 votes – in the Grove Ward, Kingston by-election the Conservatives have lashed out at the winning Liberal Democrat campaign, picking up on a piece of literature claiming “It’s always a straight fight here in Grove ward.”
With a Labour vote lagging behind at just 21% compared with 33% to the Tories, and 34% to the Lib Dems, it is not hard to see why it was described as a straight choice – as we’ve said so many times before “Labour can’t win here”
But for the Conservative party to attack Liberals for being homophobic goes beyond satire: the debate on equal marriage is on the cards because in 2010 we voted for it to become official Liberal Democrat party policy (I was there and spoke in the debate!). It is being implemented because we have a Liberal Democrat equalities minister in the brilliant Lynne Featherstone driving it through. It seems excessive to point out that so many of our activists in London and across the country are from LGBT backgrounds, especially given that as Liberals one of our core beliefs is the fundamental equal moral worth of every individual.
So Conservative Future have a choice (and to a lesser extent The Sun): make a positive, constructive contribution to the political debate – challenge the prejudice of the Church of England who claimed it was “one of the worst threats in 500 years”. Challenge the prejudice of homophobic elements of the Conservative Party, but don’t stoop so low as to spin a story out of nothing and attack the party of equal rights.