Nick Clegg withdraws ‘bigot’ comments aimed at gay marriage opponents
THE office of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg provoked outrage after issuing a press release describing opponents of gay marriage as “bigots”.
• Deputy Prime Minister’s speech was to feature remarks aimed at opponents of gay marriage
• Pre-released extracts withdrawn after complaints and criticism
• Ministerial aides claim early draft of speech accidentally released
The word was part of a speech he gave last night to an equalities reception where Mr Clegg was due to say: “Continued trouble in the economy gives the bigots a stick to beat us with, as they demand we ‘postpone’ the equalities agenda in order to deal with ‘the things people really care about’.”
But the press release was recalled an hour and a half later and a new one issued with “bigots” replaced by “some people”.
The speech marked Mr Clegg’s frustration with Tory backbench attempts to block allowing gay marriage. But his office’s plan to use the word was described by opponents of gay marriage as an insult.
Outspoken Tory backbench coalition critic Peter Bone said the comment “shows why Mr Clegg is not fit to remain Deputy Prime Minister”.
A spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage, the campaign group of churches and charities which has led the attack on plans to bring in gay marriage, said: “Nick Clegg’s intemperate and intolerant remarks just show how out of touch he is with ordinary people the vast majority of who do not support ripping up the centuries old definition of marriage.
“Mr Clegg should get on with sorting out the battered economy, which he was elected to fix instead of insulting ordinary men and women.”
A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: “This is staggeringly intolerant language from the Deputy Prime Minister.
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