Former MP Sir John Randall has issued a formal apology for voting against marriage equality during his time in office.
Sir John Randall, Conservative MP of Uxbridge from 1997 to 2015, sent out a statement via Buzzfeed. In the statement, Randall explains why he opposed same-sex marriage and expresses remorse for trying to stand in the way of other people’s happiness.
There are not many things that I regret about my time as an MP but almost as soon as I voted against same sex marriage I knew I had made a mistake. Of course I recognized that it was going to go pass anyway so my vote was not crucial and I was wavering. I excused myself with my children with the excuse that I would have voted for it had civil partnerships been allowed for heterosexual couples and I still think that should be actively considered but in the end as a Government Whip I was a teller and therefore technically didn’t vote one way or the other. That was not courageous.
I think I was just not ready for this step, conflicted between many of my age group and those of the younger generation whose views I wanted to understand. Ultimately I think I knew that I was going to be on the wrong side as those who wanted to me to vote for were some of the nicest people I came across, something that couldn’t be said about those opposing. With hindsight I wish I had spoken to a very good friend and colleague before the vote. He might easily have been expected to oppose the move to same sex marriage but he said to me that it was something that wouldn’t affect him at all but would give great happiness to many people. That is an argument that I find it difficult to find fault with.
So three years on I can honestly say, I was wrong and I am sorry not to have been able to see it at the time.
The apology might come across as too little, too late for some of us. But it does offer insight into the mind of an anti-marriage equality politician.
Randall’s statement suggests his vote wasn’t sincere; he was just towing the party line. That’s not a valid excuse for trying to deprive other people of their civil rights, of course. Still, it makes us wonder how many conservatives actually care about LGBTQ issues one way or the other and how many of them are just showing off.
(Header image via Twitter)