Prime Minister David Cameron is reportedly ready to back down from legalising gay marriage in an effort to appease Conservative backbenchers.
After many party councillors lost their seats in the local election vote held last Thursday (3 May), removing the gay marriage policy is a concession to appeal right-wingers.
The Conservative party lost 405 seats and 12 councils in last week’s election.
Sources from the British Prime Minister’s political office say he cannot push ahead with controversial proposals in a heated political climate.
According to the Sunday Times, he said: ‘Gay marriage is something we genuinely want to do, but because of everything that has happened now is not the time.’
The UK government launched a 12-week public consultation on gay marriage on 15 March.
Cameron’s liberal plans to modernise government also included a reform of the House of Lords, pioneered previously by Labour PM Tony Blair.
Many backbenchers are convinced the party’s recent blunders over immigration and tax cuts are responsible for Conservative losses.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne denied the allegations on BBC The Andrew Marr show, saying they are just taking time to listen to people’s views.
Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee, the powerful backbench group credited for ousting Margaret Thatcher, is scheduled to hold talks with Cameron. Brady is due to advise Cameron to scrap gay marriage legislation plans.
Cameron is hoping the Queen’s Speech taking place on 9 May will reinvigorate his party’s standing with the public. A key theme of the speech will be about the importance of family.
Stonewall’s spokesman Andy Wasley advised caution, and to wait until after the speech before backlashing against broken promises.
He told Gay Star News: ‘From my point of view, the Prime Minister has promised to legalise gay marriage by 2015. We hope to see it in the Queen’s Speech next week and we look forward to making a response at the time.’
While the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York have opposed government plans to legalise gay marriage, some senior religious leaders in the Church of England have shown their support.
Last month several bishops, vicars and priests wrote a letter saying the Church of England has ‘nothing to fear’ from gay marriage, and should ‘be a cause for rejoicing’.
Catholic leaders were criticised for promoting an anti-gay marriage petition during services, while a priest was suspended for two months for preaching against the government plans.