DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg has hit out at Commonwealth countries for their record on gay rights.
Ahead of attending the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Lib Dem leader visited Pride House in Scotland’s largest city; a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) space set up to promote diversity at the Games and within the Commonwealth.
Speaking to campaigners he said it was unacceptable that almost 80 per cent of Commonwealth countries discriminate against their citizens because of their sexual orientation.
He is expected to say: “The Commonwealth core values and principles which all Commonwealth countries sign up to are clear. They say that “We are committed to equality and respect for the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights
“Yet almost 42 out of 53 countries of Commonwealth countries that are represented here in Glasgow this week criminalise homosexuality in some way.”
He went on: “We’ve come a long way in this country towards achieving the genuine equality that LGBT people have always wanted and deserved. This includes last year’s landmark equal marriage reform. Yet there’s still a huge amount to be done across the world.
“As we celebrate the bravery of Olympians who have come out - Tom Daley, Ian Thorpe or Nicola Adams for example – some countries are taking backward steps; putting their LGBT Olympians so far back in the closet that they can’t ever imagine their day in the open.”
He added: “We can’t dictate how other nations behave but we can promote the principles we believe in – of a fair and open society both in the UK and abroad.”