Downing Street’s Gay Valentine Surprise
Cameron Planning Al Capone Hit on Gay Marriage Opposition

It’s not just Cameron’s Europe speech that is going a bit Yes2AV; his gay marriage bill is in troubled waters too. Guido revealed in his Daily Star Sunday column that Cameron “lost the room” when backbench Tory MP Eleanor Laing blasted the plans and her naughty colleagues chatted away amongst themselves while the PM tried to explain his logic at a strategy briefing last Tuesday. Later in the week Fox got involved, but the trouble doesn’t stop there.

It is believed that Lord Strathclyde couldn’t face the prospect of forcing the issue through the Lords and “seasoned Westminster watchers who knew his replacement Lord Hill back in the ’80s are surprised he has been chosen to push the gay marriage Bill through the Lords, given his own rather traditional views.”

Labour could create a real stinker here, but troublemaking voices in the party are being drowned out:

“It’s not just Tories who are feeling queasy; lots of Catholic Labour MPs are trying to halt the Bill. Their plan to put an amendment down calling for a referendum on the issue has been met with short shrift by Ed Miliband’s people, despite the fact it would set the squabbling Tories bickering even more.”

The amendment would gain a lot of support from traditional Tories, but Guido hears that Downing Street have their own plan to avoid to large a fall out in the Commons…

Sources familiar with the planning say that the latest interventions have “seriously spooked” the government and No. 10 are pushing for the Bill to be published in the next fortnight; most likely on Thursday, January 24. The second reading is then pencilled in for the day that Parliament rises for the February Recess; Thursday, February 14. Apparently No. 10 are hoping “dozens of MPs will have left early to go to their constituencies.” Then again No.10 have never been very good at keeping secrets…



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Andy Burnham, an MP at Westminster since 2001:

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