LONDON - Members of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party urged him yesterday to delay a parliamentary vote this week on gay marriage, warning the issue could weaken the party and harm his chances of re-election.
Cameron has pledged his personal support for a gay marriage bill but many in his party and among his legislators oppose it on moral grounds and say the government has no mandate to push it through parliament. As the bill is supported by Britain's two other main parties, opposition Labor and Conservative coalition partners the Liberal Democrats, it is in no danger of being defeated.
But a letter signed by 25 past and present chairmen of local Conservative associations was handed in at 10 Downing St. yesterday by six of the signatories.
"We feel very strongly that the decision to bring this bill before Parliament has been made without adequate debate or consultation with either the membership of the Conservative Party or with the country at large," the letter said.
It added: "Resignations from the party are beginning to multiply and we fear that, if enacted, this bill will lead to significant damage to the Conservative Party in the run-up to the 2015 election." -- Reuters