Gay refugees from Africa should be granted asylum in the UK, David Cameron (the leader of the Tory Party) has said.

"If you are fleeing persecution and that fear is well-founded, then you should be able to stay. As I understand it, the 1951 Convention [on the rights of refugees] doesn't mention sexuality, but because it mentions membership of a social group, that phrase is being used by the courts, rightly, to say that if someone has a realistic fear of persecution they should be allowed to stay. It was wrong that refugees were often told to hide their sexuality from police who would imprison, torture or kill them for it," he said.

And he claimed that rappers who sang songs inciting violence against gays should be banned. "I think we can stop some of these people coming into the country," he said.

Mr Cameron also called for an end to the ban on gays giving blood, saying: "Logic would dictate that it's time to change."

He promised to put in place 'ground rules' to make sure religious schools 'teach equality'. But he came out against further equalities legislation, saying: 'I think it's much more about culture than about law now.'

Mr Cameron also called on Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to follow his party's lead and move the Church of England in the direction of gay rights. "I don't want to get into a huge row with the Archbishop here, but the Church has to do some of the things that the Conservative Party has been through. Sorting this issue out and recognising that full equality is a bottom-line, full essential." he said.

Mr Cameron apologised for his previous support of Section 28. The 1988 law was repealed by Labour in 2003. At the time, Mr Cameron attacked Tony Blair for "moving heaven and earth to allow the promotion of homosexuality in our schools." But he claimed he had never believed it was possible to ' promote homosexuality' or make children gay.

"I think, now, looking back, you can see the mistake of Section 28," he said.

COMMENT: Obviously Cameron has had a moment of extreme clarity when the gay thing became suddenly very clear. A realisation, you might say.

A realisation that gay people and their friends have the vote and there's lots and lots of them.



  1. The UK Tories must be very different creatures these days from American Republicans.

    The Republican Party in the USA has careened so far off to the right that I doubt any of their late leaders from ages past would recognize them, not even William F. Buckley. Neither Richard Nixon nor Barry Goldwater could possibly have a career in today’s party, and Goldwater was considered the extremist in 1964.

    Gay-bashing and barely concealed racism remain articles of faith with the Republican party, and it looks like those will only get worse over here.

    The precious few gay Republicans I’ve known have long since left that party.

  2. well absolutely, but it is his job to realise that.

    At least he’s put a bit of a boot up the bum of the church of England in the process.

  3. I don’t know diddly about Mr. Cameron, but I wouldn’t rule out the impact having a gay family member may have had upon him. I had the blessing of some family member’s, including evangelicals, change their hearts and minds on the topic at the moment of my coming out to them. It is very humbling, ironically, to have them trust you so much, that they immediately know what they once thought was true, is not.

  4. The UK Tories must be very different creatures
    these days from American Republicans.

    They blow with the wind like all British politicians nowadays. But, you have to remember that the Conservative Party has always had far more gay people in its ranks than the Labour Party. And even the straight ones would have had sex with other boys when they were at Eton etc.

  5. I would take Counterlight’s statement and go one step further and say that Conservative European and Canadian politicians seem to be much more liberal than what currently counts as conservative in the US.

    But then again Switzerland did just pass that minaret ban which is disturbing…

  6. I understand the motivation for his change of heart, but nontheless make this hearfelt plea: If you don’t have a shortage of Tories, could you please send some over here across the Pond? Add just a few to the Senate, and some pieces of mildly marginally progressive legislation could get passed, which currently is not possible.

    One doesn’t expect from them any prodigies of fanatical leftist activism (except, of course, on what we call Health Care Reform), but by fitting comfortably close to the center of the Democratic Party, as Tories have been for many years, they could have a major effect.

    True, our House of Lords recognizes no formal lifetime office, but a mere six years; on the other hand, your gentlemen might be pleased with the actual power over legislation that ours has, God help us.