Tory MP criticised over claims in Commons’ debate

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Sir Roger Gale has found himself at the centre of the latest gay marriage storm after claims he made a reference to incest as part of the debate.

The Thanet North Conservative MP – who has been an outspoken critic at proposed changes to marriage laws – spoke during this afternoon’s Commons’ debate on opening it up to same-sex couples.

He said: “There is a way forward. It has been suggested but it has been ignored. I do not subscribe to it myself but I recognise the merit in the argument, and that is this; if the government is serious about this, take it away, abolish the civil partnerships bill, abolish civil marriage, and create a civil union bill that applies to all people, irrespective of their sexuality or their relationships, and that means brother and brothers, sisters and sisters and brothers and sisters as well.

“That would be a way forward. This is not.”

But his comments sparked fury on online social networking site Twitter, with people swift to criticise any comparison between incest and equal marriage.

Labour MP Chris Bryant described the Tory MP’s comments as “profoundly offensive”.

But Sir Roger said his quotes had been deliberately twisted.

He said: “This is barking!

“In the Commons debate I put forward the thesis that it was worth considering abolishing civil marriage and civil partnerships and introducing a civil union bill in their place.

“This would leave marriage, as historically understood and defined as between one man and one woman, to faith groups and would afford the ‘equality’ that the government claims to seek to achieve, to all.

“That would – as I said - include brother and brother and sister and sister or brother and sister. I appreciate that the world is obsessed with sex but this has to do, simply, with the legal and property rights of those who are at present excluded from protection under the Civil Partnerships Act.

“There appears to be no limit to the ability of some to seek to misrepresent or misunderstand a perfectly clear intention!”

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