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    First Published: Before August 2002
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.

ANN WIDDECOMBE VOTED MOST HOMOPHOBIC MP

Britain's lesbian and gay community have voted shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe as the most homophobic MP of the last parliament. Almost 40% of respondents to an online poll by the Gayvote website voted Widdecombe as the most anti-gay politician. DUP leader Ian Paisley, infamous for his illiberal views and his Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign, received 30% of the vote.
The Conservative leader, William Hague, was in third place with 11%, highlighting the difficulty he faced in winning support for his Party from the lesbian and gay community in the final days of the general election campaign. This is a particular blow to Hague, who tried to claim to BBC Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman last week that the Conservative Party was now an inclusive and tolerant Party and one that could have a gay leader in the future.

The Gayvote poll put overall support for the Liberal Democrats at 37%, Labour at 32% and the Conservatives at 10%.

Mark Watson of www.gayvote.co.uk says: "Gay people have more reason than many to turn out and vote. They have been shown to give their support to political parties who recognise and celebrate the diverse nature of British society today. Times have changed. The vast majority of people in this country now know someone who is gay either as a friend, a family member or a work colleague. When politicians like Ann Widdecombe devalue lesbians and gay men, they devalue their relationships, their friends and their families. There are political consequences to their actions. They alienate the majority of British people who want to see us become a more modern, inclusive and tolerant society."

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