Cameron faces Eastleigh test over same-sex mar­riage

The Church of England - - NEWS - By Amaris Cole

THE EASTLEIGH by-elec­tion could be won and lost on the is­sue of gay mar­riage, with two can­di­dates stand­ing as Chris Huhne’s re­place­ment in di­rect op­po­si­tion to David Cameron’s Same­Sex Mar­riage Bill.

Kevin Mil­burn, The Chris­tian Party, and Danny Stup­ple, an In­de­pen­dent, are com­pet­ing to re­ceive the sup­port of vot­ers who are sim­i­larly op­posed to the re­def­i­ni­tion of mar­riage.

Mr Stup­ple, who has lived in the con­stituency for nearly 30 years, has pin­pointed the Prime Min­is­ter’s ‘de­ceit’ for the rea­son for his cam­paign.

The can­di­date said: “David Cameron has let us down,” crit­i­cis­ing him for push­ing the Bill through with­out a man­date, as the Bill was not in the Con­ser­va­tive Party’s man­i­festo.

Mr Stup­ple stands on a ticket for ‘in­tegrity and in­de­pen­dence’, promis­ing con­stituents ‘real democ­racy, real free­dom and real mar­riage’.

In his cam­paign leaflet Mr Stup­ple claims that: “Pow­er­ful party machines ride roughshod over the views of in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties”.

An ac­tive mem­ber of his church and on the Street Pas­tor team for Eastleigh, Mr Stup­ple is urg­ing vot­ers to ‘make a stand’, which he be­lieves will be ‘the bir th of new pol­i­tics’.

The can­di­date said last week: “I think a lot of peo­ple feel let down, not only by our former lo­cal MP but by the whole po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. The com­plete dis­re­gard for proper process in the re­def­i­ni­tion of mar­riage vote is in­dica­tive of the con­tempt for or­di­nary vot­ers.

“Some­thing as pro­found as mar­riage re­quires far more care than Mr Cameron or his Government have shown it.”

The Chris­tian Party is ‘chal­leng­ing Cameron’ with the ticket of Mr Mil­burn, a Prison Of­fi­cer of 33 years, a Health Care Of­fi­cer and a church leader.

Jeff Green, leader of the Chris­tian Party said: “The Chris­tian Party ‘Pro­claim­ing Christ’s Lord­ship’ is de­lighted to have the op­por­tu­nity to chal­lenge David Cameron’s agenda in the Eastleigh by-elec­tion.

“If you vote for Kevin, you can send a very clear mes­sage to David Cameron and Nick Clegg that peo­ple are say­ing ‘Yes to in­tegrity in pol­i­tics’ and ‘Yes to tra­di­tional mar­riage’.”

The Chris­tian Party says they will con­tinue to stand can­di­dates to ‘send the mes­sage loud and clear that Chris­tians are on the move to re­cover the ground lost to the po­lit­i­cally cor­rect and in­tol­er­ant sec­u­lar es­tab­lish­ment’.

The news of th­ese can­di­dates’ in­ten­tion to stand comes in the same week as the Prime Min­is­ter is be­ing warned that ‘com­mit­ted Chris­tians’ are plan­ning to leave the party af­ter the de­vel­op­ments for the gay mar­riage bill this month.

Last year, 57 per cent of Chris­tians said they would leave the Tories were such a Bill to be pushed through.

There are cur­rently no statis­tics to show whether th­ese pre­dic­tions have been re­alised, but many see the Eastleigh by-elec­tion as a lit­mus test for the feel­ing among those of faith over the changes, and whether they will ac­tu­ally put those feel­ings into ef­fect at the bal­lot box.

The by-elec­tion will be held on 28 Fe­bru­ary.

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