British Conservative Party politician Crispin Blunt, who came out as gay in 2010, won a vote to campaign for re-election as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the next election.
He had faced a battle against the executive council of the Reigate and Banstead Conservative Association; in September, they refused to endorse his re-election as a parliamentary candidate.
However, having called the local government to vote, he won the candidacy five to one, a landslide victory due to his public support from Prime Minister David Cameron, alongside a large portion of Tories in the Cabinet.
The executive council’s refusal to endorse his re-election has caused debate as to whether his sexuality was the cause, as well as his decision to leave his wife of twenty years, Victoria.
News site This is Local London reported that a letter sent by Roger Newstead to Mr. Blunt’s supporter, Dr. Ben Mearns, claimed Blunt’s sexuality had not been addressed at the meeting right before the secret ballot.
However, the letter also states, “There is no doubt in my mind that his very public and totally unnecessary announcement that he was ‘gay’ was the final straw for some members.”
It went on to say, “A number of lady members were very offended by the manner in which his marriage broke up. Apparently Victoria’s version was very different from Crispin’s.”
The letter did also cite Blunt’s notorious absence from functions on various occasions as a reason not to endorse him. Local party member Priscilla Rhodes told the Surrey Mirror, “He has got to know the truth—it is nothing to do with him being gay, nothing to do with him being a bad MP in London. Most of the people voted against him because, locally, he doesn’t do what he should.”
Blunt responded to the letter, saying, “It is part of evidence that with some members of the executive council my sexuality was an issue for them.”
Although the letter has suggested his sexuality was key in some party members’ decision, the allegations against his work ethic have also shown that there could be other reasons for the executive council’s refusal to endorse. There is a high chance that different local party members had different reasons to vote against his return for parliamentary candidate. If sexuality is a reason, the five to one vote in his favor shows the immense strides the UK politicians have taken not to judge a character on sexuality.