THE COMMENTS of shadow home secretary Chris Grayling last week show the continued existence of anti-gay prejudice in the Conservative Party.
Grayling defended people who run bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodation in their homes having the right to bar homosexual guests on religious grounds.
Speaking to the Thatcherite Centre for Policy Studies, he stated: "Should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from their hotel? I took the view that if it's a question of somebody who's doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn't come into their own home."
This appears to breach the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, which states that no-one should be refused goods or services on the grounds of their sexuality. The regulations include "accommodation in a hotel, boarding house or similar establishment".
Grayling later explained that his pro-gay voting record showed his commitment to gay rights. However, Grayling's comments reek of Tory hypocrisy. Cameron and his cronies talk of change publicly, but privately the Conservative Party remains deeply backward, reactionary, and homophobic.
If the Tories win the general election Grayling will be home secretary. A man with dubious commitment to gay rights will be in charge of implementing equality legislation.
Grayling's remarks come just one week after Tory leader David Cameron became flustered and awkward when questioned about the anti-gay voting record of his own party's MEPs in an interview with the Gay Times.