UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
Only four days after she proclaimed herself as an ‘ally for life,’ lame-duck UK prime minister Theresa May did not turn up to vote to allow marriage equality to Northern Ireland.
The prime minister pledged life-time support for LGBTI people over the weekend, yet, was one of numerous high-profile lawmakers to not vote in what became a groundbreaking ruling for the nation.
While possible successor to May, Jeremy Hunt, revealed his support for marriage equality, neither he or Boris Johnson voted, too.
Members of Parliament (MPs) overwhelmingly voted in favor of extending same sex marriage to Northern Ireland. Thereby, enshrining the entirety of the UK with the right.
Although, the clause will require secondary legislation and will only come into force if a devolved government is not formed by 21 October.
This is because Northern Ireland’s government – the Northern Ireland Assembly – was suspended two years ago after conflicting ministers hit a political stalemate.
Yet, several British cabinet ministers abstained from a free vote on marriage equality yesterday (9 July). Including May, who recently tweeted: ‘I will only be your prime minister for a few more weeks. But I will be your ally for the rest of my life.’
Theresa May’s pledge was ‘meaningless’
Critics jumped in. Some said her pledge was ‘meaningless’ and claimed the rest of her life meant ‘a few days.’
Lyndsay Macadam, chief executive of UK LGBTI charity Switchboard, while welcomed the news, said denounced May.
She told The Independent: ‘However, whilst we understand that Northern Ireland politics are complex, we are saddened and disappointed that Theresa May did not feel able to demonstrate her allyship for LGBTQ communities in real terms in her final weeks as prime minister.
‘Her claim on Pride weekend that she would “be your ally for the rest of my life” are empty and meaningless in the light of this lack of support.
‘To be an ally is not just to tweet during Pride, but to build relationships based on trust, consistency and accountability.’
‘They’re only allies when it suits them.’
Moreover, several LGBTI Twitter users tapped onto keyboards, expressing their frustration at the prime minister and Boris Johnson, May’s potential successor.
Last night Theresa May did not even turn up to vote to allow same sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
So the below statement just 4 days ago turned out to be just hot air. https://t.co/bB1qXGTvON
— Freddie (@FreddieBailey96) July 10, 2019
As one user explained: ‘Boris Johnson went to gay pride for a photo opportunity he then voted against Northern Ireland same sex marriage.
‘Theresa May said she is on our side even though she voted for section 28 in the 80s and didn’t turn up to vote for same sex marriage last night.
‘This is gaslighting.’
Theresa May: I will be an ally to the LGBT+ community for the rest of my life.
Theresa May: [doesn’t attend vote to extend equal marriage into Northern Ireland]
— Catherine Wilson (@CWilsonPoet) July 10, 2019
As another user summarized:’They’re only allies when it suits them.’
How about Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt?
At a televised debate on Tuesday, the same day as when equality was passed, the two lawmakers splintered on the topic of equal marriage.
During the quick-fire round of the debate, a moderator asked: “Do you support extending abortion rights and same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland?”
While Hunt said ‘yes,’ while Johnson said he thought it was a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly. As a result, opposing his fellow MPs vote
Who else abstained?
Safe to say that the three lawmakers were not alone.
Ester McVey, David Lidington, Philip Hammond, Sajid Javid, Stephen Barclay, David Gauke, Liam Fox, Damian Hinds, Chris Grayling, Karen Bradley, Allun Cairns, Rory Stewart, Brandon Lewis and Jeremy Wright; no vote was recorded for any.
However, cabinet ministers Penny Mordaunt, Matt Hancock, Greg Clark Amber Rudd, Michael Gove, Liz Truss and David Mundell voted for the amendment.
James Brokenshire, state and houses secretary, was the only cabinet minister to vote against it.