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« Tories facing oblivion warns Alan Duncan | Main | David Davis: Tories will champion the poor »


robert highfield

I do love this site, even though I reject its religious fundamentalism as the key driver of the agenda for Conservatism. For me, it wouldn't matter if we had a homosexual as leader, any more than I would worry whether a non-driver might take the wrong view on congestion charging. If someone is good enough to be leader, he or she is good enough to be trusted to think clearly beyond personal prejudice.

But at least these are serious issues, in contrast to the laughable nature of an Alan Duncan leadership bid.


Hello Robert - your religious fundamentalist editor here!

I don't think a non-driver couldn't make an excellent PM/Leader but I suspect that the fact they had probably spent most of their lives using buses and trains would make them less sensitive to the heavy taxation of motorists and more committed to investment in public transport. It would be fair to seek their views on transport policy and, given their background, it would be very relevant.

I'd happily vote for a gay man if, for example, he was a Eurosceptic, had promising policies on crime reduction or if he was opposed to arms sales to despotic nations like Saudi Arabia. I, personally, would also hope that he'd support the traditional family as the best environment for the nurture of children. I wouldn't assume that he wouldn't and would legitimately seek his opinion on that matter. If he took a libertarian position on the family it would make me less inclined to vote for him but it wouldn't be decisive. I would weigh it alongside his other views.

James Hellyer

It's certainly an interesting point. Politicians have the power to legislate over our private lives. Does this therefore mean their private are open for scrutiny?

Last year the European Parliament faced this decision when it rejected the Baroso Commission because of Rocco Buttiglione's views on homosexuality.

Buttiglione believed there was a difference between morality and legality, and said that, whatever his religious opinions, he would champion the rights of all minorities.

Christians, including Catholics, have long accepted that the law should not be used to enforce every moral precept they uphold. In matters such as sexual preference it is accepted that we should not resort to law, but rely on individual decisions (the European Parliament failed to see this).

Importantly we can only know that a person holds these views if we have the right to question them and therefore find out.

It's important therefore that we can see where this distinction falls with our politicians.


This is an interesting debate - what worries me is having this debate in this context. It's perfectly proper, but just look at it from the point of view of an outsider: they see us after a disastrous election, looking about for a new leader, and wrapped up in arguments about sexuality. We hear people on this site arguing that Alan Duncan (or whoever) would be a good leader because he 'looks modern'. Are we so very lost? Can't we talk about Britain's position in the world? About public services? About the environment? About the threat of Gordon Brown and how to defeat him?

Sean Fear

There would be nothing hypocritical or inconsistent in a gay man who thought that children were best brought up in traditional family structures. In fact I am very friendly with one such man, who has been a Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

I would be likely to vote for a gay eurosceptic in preference to a straight europhile, but I would want to know what his views were on socially conservative issues before casting my vote.

Alan T

In response to the blog post and a few of the comments above I have the following to say:

1. Alan Duncan's leadership bid is not laughable. As a non tory voter, to date, it has certainly aroused my interest in the party. I am one of many people who finds the idea of 'liberal economics and liberal attitudes' very appealing. The Conservative party would do well to attract 'liberals without a home' who don't feel comfortable in any of the parties at the moment.

2. I don't think being gay makes you unsympathetic to the value of a family headed by a man and a woman. Affording protection to this type of family unit does not have to entail giving it a special status, and by default stigmatizing other family set-ups and arrangements between individuals. I do not think it desireable for a tory leader, gay or otherwise, to promote 'the traditional family as the best environment to nurture children'. Children require stability which can be ensured in a number of ways. There is no need for moralising preferential treatment for the heterosexual, one man-one woman + children family. As someone who is wrestling with whether or not I can support the tories the kind of attitude often espoused by on the family really puts me off.

3. As for the comment about this being a trivial line of discussion. I think this is exactly the sort of debate a website like conservativehome allows. Ofcourse there are other things, which should perhaps be given more emphasis, but the backgrounds (etc) of the candidates are legitimate and interesting topics of discussion.


I don't think being gay is Duncan's best selling point, and it will probably stop him from becoming leader but its still a positive step that homosexuals like Mr Duncan can feel comfortable in the party and even have leadership campaigns.

The Duncan Smith leadership showed that having the right ideas is not enough, you also have to be able to articulate them and put a coherent vision across. Alan Duncan might be the man to do that.

Jack Stone

The background of a potential Conservative leader is totally unimportant. The number one priority is to have a leader who can reach out beyond the party`s core support which none of the last four leaders have been able to do and attract people to vote for the party who now vote for other party`s or none at all.
Personally I think regardless of there background neither Duncan or Davis are incapable of doing this.


I am one of many people who finds the idea of 'liberal economics and liberal attitudes' very appealing.

Many people? When YouGov did a survey asking for agreement or disagreement on statements like "There are drugs which are currently banned which should be legalised" and "In general, private companies are run more efficiently than public services", just 0.6% of the population answered in a 'socially liberal, fiscally conservative/economically liberal' way.

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