By Hannah Dixon
Young people were able to effect change by turning out to vote in the General Election, largely supporting the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for the many. Jon Cruddas retained his Labour Party seat in Dagenham & Rainham, Hornchurch & Upminster Labour increased their number of votes and in my constituency, Angelina Leatherbarrow gained 5000 more votes since 2015. We’ll be able to build on these achievements, engaging more young people along the way and showing that Labour are the credible alternative to Tory rule in Romford and Hornchurch & Upminster.
The election saw Theresa May failing to win an outright majority, but in order to navigate the chaos of a hung parliament and to cling to power the Conservatives are now looking for support from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
To reiterate what Romford Labour Party has summarised, the DUP have extreme socially conservative views and have campaigned against:
- Same-sex marriage
- LGBT rights in Northern Ireland
- Women’s abortion rights
- Additionally, senior figures in the hard-line religious right-wing party are climate change deniers and others want to see creationism taught in science lessons in our schools.
Romford Labour Party is petitioning the Tory MP (Andrew Rosindell) in Romford, demanding that he speaks up against this coalition of chaos that Theresa May wants to form. The link to sign the petition can be found here: http://www.romford-labour-party.org.uk/stop_the_dup_coalition
After just a couple of days nearly 100 people have signed, but there is still time to increase this number to truly show our anger at the prospect of a Tory and DUP coalition or confidence and supply agreement.
Following the publication of the petition and upon receiving emails from constituents concerned about the coalition, Andrew Rosindell expressed these views on his Twitter account:
“Treatment of the DUP wholly unfair”, Rosindell exclaims – what is unfair is the treatment of the LGBT community still having to argue that their rights are as important as the heterosexual community. The Conservative party refusing to call out these views, using language such as “economy and Brexit” to detract from what are hugely problematic views of a party they are seemingly willing to work alongside.
“It’s a devolved social policy” Rosindell argues – But views expressed by the DUP leader Arlene Foster to the Guardian in 2016 prove that these views are fresh – “I would not want abortion to be as freely available here as it is in England and don’t support the extension of the 1967 act” she said.
Additionally, even if the rights of the Women and LGBT community in the “rest of the UK” are maintained, it remains too much for Rosindell and May to outright denounce the DUP’s view on LGBT rights and abortion. Remember, May’s Conservatives were the party that brought in the “rape clause”, making victims of rape fill out 8 page forms to prove they were raped in order to receive benefits. This proves that the Conservative party do not have the best interests of women at the heart of their party. Joining forces with the DUP, who oppose women’s abortion rights, is the final signifier that they are the party that will ignore the wellbeing and rights of women in order to cling to power.
Below, Rosindell declares that the “DUP gay marriage views are irrelevant”. These views can never be irrelevant when they risk putting the rights of thousands at risk.
Even if the views of the DUP aren’t formally put into their desperate manifesto, it is important to point out that Rosindell has voted no or against on the below issues, thus rendering his arguments as flawed. We are not spreading “scare stories”, we are expressing the facts about two parties that are forming an alliance to run our country.
Andrew Rosindell voted no/against on the following issues:
- Allowing same sex couples to marry (05 Feb 2013, 21 May 2013)
- Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (19 March 2007)
- PSHE to be taught in state schools, including Sex and Relationships education including ending violence against women and girls (15 July 2015)
More of Rosindell’s voting record can be found via this link: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/11199/andrew_rosindell/romford
Let us show that this type of politics has no place in Britain and Havering:
- Sign the Romford Labour petition: http://www.romford-labour-party.org.uk/stop_the_dup_coalition
- Continue to write to your MP using LGBT Labour’s templates here: http://www.lgbtlabour.org.uk/dropthedup
- Join the Labour Party here for just £1 a year if you’re a student: https://join.labour.org.uk/
Together we can show that the views of the DUP and the Conservative Party do not represent us! We will not back down.
Hannah is Chair of Havering Young Labour and the Romford Labour Party Youth Officer.