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Old 11-15-2008, 09:40 PM   #1
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You don't have to be gay to be a Labour MP - but it helps

Speaker fights Harman plan for big increase in gay MPs
By Simon Walters and Brendan Carlin
Last updated at 3:12 AM on 16th November 2008
Comments (0) Add to My Stories Target: Commons leader Harriet Harman wants 39 gay MPs elected to Parliament
Controversial Government backed plans for a massive increase in the number of gay MPs are being opposed by Commons Speaker Michael Martin, it was revealed last night.

Ministers are likely to support a demand by gay-rights campaigners for a target of electing 39 openly gay MPs - nearly four times the present number.

The target is based on an official estimate that six per cent of Britain is gay and is part of a Parliamentary shake-up by Commons Leader Harriet Harman to make MPs 'more representative'.

But it has produced a fierce backlash led by devout Catholic Mr Martin, who says MPs' sex lives should stay private.

He vetoed a Government bid last week to include a reference to gays in a Parliamentary motion on the 'disparity' of groups in the Commons like women, ethnic minorities and the disabled.

Mr Martin is said to have argued that the proposal made no allowance for gay MPs who prefer to keep quiet about their sexuality.
Speaker fights Harman plan for big increase in gay MPs | Mail Online

Call me old fashioned, I thought the idea of democracy was that you vote based on political preference, rather than invented quotas imposed from on high.

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Old 11-15-2008, 10:52 PM   #2
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Doesn't sound from the article like they're seeking actual quotas, rather a formal commitment from all political parties for more mentoring and outreach to aspiring gay politicians with the goal of making their representation in Parliament more proportional. I can understand an argument that this seems like a rather arbitrary or contrived way to progress towards that goal, but why would it necessarily affect voter behavior? Don't most Brits vote based on party platforms rather than individual personalities and ideas anyway?
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