David Cameron’s has stumbled through an interview over gay rights. At one point he asked for the interview to be stopped.
He repeatedly faltered in a video interview with Gay Times, asking for the camera to be switched off while he gathered his thoughts. The Tory leader was asked, in light of his recent message on gay rights, his MEPs refused to support a motion condemning a homophobic law in Lithuania.
Cameron was asked about an amendment to allow civil partnerships to take place in places of worship, he said, “I think it’s an important debate, this, and I don’t rule out changes. I think it’s right there should be a free vote. It was a backbench amendment.”
This prompted the interviewer, “If we vote for you, we want you to vote for us.”
The Tory leader replied, “I do, I do. Do you know – Can we stop for a second?”
Cameron was accused of making a “major gaffe” by gay MP Ben Bradshaw, the culture secretary.
In 2009 Cameron offered a public apology for section 28, the controversial Tory legislation introduced in the 1980s that banned the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools.
The interview was on camera, although Conservative Party sources said that Mr Cameron was not warned in advance cameras would be present.
He later told Channel 4 News:
“No-one should be in any doubt that the Conservative party abhors homophobia, that we support equal rights, that we support civil partnerships, that we think that part of being a strong central right party in Britain today.
“One of the bedrock issues is being in favour of proper equality for people, whether they are straight or gay, or black or white, or men or women, or whether they live in the town or the countryside or whatever God they worship – important points.”