Feb 6 2013 By Zoe Drewett
Ruislip Northwood MP Nick Hurd
Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner MP Nick Hurd has spoken out about the reason he chose not to vote on same sex marriage.
MPs voted in favour of the marriage (same sex couples) bill by 400 to 175 last night (Tuesday). Despite Mr Hurd canvassing the opinions of his constituents via an online survey on his website, he chose not to vote on the divisive bill.
The Conservative MP had written a letter in the Gazette last week stating that he had no objection to same sex marriage so long as religious freedom would be safeguarded.
Mr Hurd explained his reasons for not voting in a statement given this morning (Wednesday). He said: "My personal inclination was to support the Bill. However, as a Member of Parliament I have been elected to represent the interests and concerns of my constituents. On taking soundings around the constituency, it became clear to me that there was strong opposition to the proposal.
"As such I conducted an online survey to gauge wider opinion from my constituents. I received 1200 replies, of which the majority were not in favour of the Bill.
"This left me with a dilemma. On principle, I could not vote against a proposal which I believe is fundamentally about equal rights. I support the right of same sex couples to commit to each other in marriage, as long as individuals and institutions are also free to choose whether they wish to conduct such ceremonies.
"However, to vote for the Bill would have shown insufficient respect for the strength of feeling against it in the area I represent. So, I abstained. This may frustrate some but I hope that most will see I did my best to find out what my constituents felt and did not impose my personal view on a very sensitive subject."
Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington John McDonnell voted in favour of the bill, and Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip John Randall voted against the bill. Their comments will be published online shortly.