"No Rollback on Equality on my Watch"
Lynne Featherstone MP, the Liberal Democrat Under-Secretary of State for Equality, today sent an unequivocal message to the LGBT communities - "There will be no rollback on equality on my watch".
She was speaking at a special members-only conference in Birmingham, where the party's grassroots discussed the recent coalition agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. She criticised the Conservative backbenchers who described trans people as "perverts" during Equality Bill debates, saying that the Liberal Democrats would help the Conservative leadership keep its backbenchers in line.
Liberal Democrat LGBT group DELGA submitted an amendment reaffirming the party's long-standing and unparalleled commitment to LGBT equality. The organisation is a formal part of the Liberal Democrat party, with policy-making powers. In a speech presenting the motion, DELGA treasurer Dave Page said the group was responding to concerns from the LGBT communities over several Conservative ministers. On LGBT equality, he said that the Liberal Democrats "have been doing it longest, and doing it best". He mentioned Nick Clegg's personal support for equal marriage, and the party's commitment to LGBT asylum seekers.
The amendment was passed unanimously by local party voting representatives, and the grassroots of the party agreed overall with the coalition agreement - but added several notes of caution. The full text of the amended motion of support is below.