Senior Tory Divisions Over DUP Gay Rights Opposition Already Generating News

The Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, has declared tonight that she has been given an assurance by Theresa May that any deal with the DUP will not affect LGBTI rights in Britain.

From the BBC website:

She told the BBC’s Reporting Scotland programme that she had spoken about the issue with Theresa May on Friday evening.

Ms Davidson said: “I was fairly straightforward with her and I told her that there were a number of things that count to me more than party.

“One of them is country, one of the others is LGBTI rights.”

The Scottish Tory leader said she had asked for, and received, a “categoric assurance” from Mrs May that any arrangement between the Conservatives and the DUP would see “absolutely no rescission of LGBTI rights in the rest of the UK”.

Interestingly, Davidson has claimed that Theresa May has ‘agreed to try to use her influence to advance LGBTI rights in Northern Ireland.’

Sinn Fein has made equal marriage rights a core negotiation issue in the recent discussions relating to the return of devolution. The fact that a prominent figure in the Conservative Party has already raised the matter publicly as a potential source of friction and embarrassment for the Tories within hours of the announcement of a Conservative-DUP deal to keep May in power indicates that this has the potential to be a thorny issue.

Ruth Davidson has given Sinn Fein – and Jeremy Corbyn – a stick with which to beat the fledgling Conservative-DUP partnership in its infancy period. It will be interesting to see how sharp divisions between the two parties over this policy and others are exploited in the time to come, and whether it forces the DUP into modifying its position to appear less extreme before a British audience.