Principle vs pandering on equal marriage

The Hampshire Chronicle has reported why the two Conservative MPs in the Winchester District voted as they did on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

George Hollingbery said:

“This was a free vote and one that was a matter of conscience. I have always believed that a defining characteristic of any developed society is that it treats its citizens equally.”

Steve Brine said:

“I have received more contact from constituents on this, mostly opposed to the Bill for what it’s worth, than any other subject in almost three years, and many said to me the coalition should not be spending any time on this has no mandate for such a major constitutional change.”

If you want to know what Steve Brine thought before so many people wrote to him, Andrew Emmerson has provided a useful summary on his blog.

What should people write to him about next?

(Perhaps we could tell him what a ‘constitutional change’ is?)


Discussion on Facebook has made clear that this wasn’t even populism!  As this Guardian poll makes clear, the majority of the population support equal marriage.

I’ve changed the headline from ‘principle vs populism’ to ‘principle vs pandering’.

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3 Responses to Principle vs pandering on equal marriage

  1. Vicki Bolton says:

    I suspect that Steve is suffering from confirmation bias: Poor chap.

    • Martin says:

      It would seem so. He didn’t take the same approach when he was breaking his party’s promises on the NHS with various bonkers ideas for reorganisation.

  2. DavidM says:

    For me, this highlights the issue of what elected officials are there to represent.

    Are they elected because we want them to voice their beliefs and vote the way their conscience dictates (principle) or to represent the opinions of their constituents (populist)?

    If the former, it’s important to state your beliefs clearly when standing for election. If the latter then it’s vital to get input from a representative group if constituents, not, as Steve seems to have done, talk to a biased sub-set (that said, maybe Hampshire is more negative about the issue than the general population).

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