British Conservative leader David Cameron has apologized for his party’s history of support for racist apartheid in South Africa. Late; but better late than never. However, Mr Cameron then “forgot” to come clean about his own links to the late apartheid regime.
* Nicholas Watt
* Thursday 2 July 2009
David Cameron has embarked on another major step in the modernisation of the Conservative party by offering a public apology for section 28, the notorious legislation which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools.
The Tory leader, who voted against the repeal of section 28 as recently as 2003, reached out to the gay community on Tuesday night at a Tory fundraising event linked to Gay Pride this weekend.
“Yes, we may have sometimes been slow and, yes, we may have made mistakes, including Section 28, but the change has happened,” Cameron said of the repeal of the legislation originally passed in 1988 when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister.
In remarks reported by the Pink Paper, he admitted that he did not have a “perfect record” on gay rights, a reference to his decision in 2003 to vote for the retention of section 28. …
Cameron’s apology shows how far the Tory party has moved in the past decade. Shaun Woodward, now Northern Ireland secretary, defected to Labour after he was sacked from the Tory frontbench by William Hague in 2000 for rebelling against the party’s support for section 28.
Cameron, who succeeded Woodward as MP for Witney at the 2001 general election, mocked his opposition to section 28. “Did Mr Woodward order a survey of local opinion about the issue that triggered his resignation – clause 28 and the promotion of homosexuality in schools?” Cameron wrote in a letter to the Daily Telegraph in September 2000.
The future Tory leader voted to retain Section 28 in the 2003 Commons vote which led to its abolition. …
However as recently as last year, Cameron alarmed gay and lesbian campaigners by voting to restrict access for lesbian couples hoping to conceive children through in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
To the surprise of Tory modernisers he supported a Commons amendment by the former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith that would have strengthened existing laws to make IVF clinics consider the “need for a father and a mother” before allowing women to begin fertility treatment. The amendment was defeated.
See also here.
Tories accused of hypocrisy as they seek the gay vote: here.
1960s Tory racism: here.
The conservative party’s decision to support Michal Kaminski as leader of the Tories’ new Euro-grouping had provoked “real cause for concern” among Britain’s Jewish community – said Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband in an interview for the British weekly “Independent on Sunday”: here.
Hard-right Roger Helmer joins Tory spin-doctors in frantically re-writing Kaminski’s past: here.
Peter Tatchell: Brown should not be boasting about his gay-friendly credentials when he supports the ban on same-sex marriage: here.
A gay astronomer who was fired for his sexuality in 1957 has finally received a formal apology from the US government: here.
Gay and lesbian athletes usually wait until after they retire to come out of the closet, but that doesn’t have to be the case: here.