Anti-gay marriage group 'used my photo without permission', says MP Jessica Lee
EREWASH MP Jessica Lee has criticised an anti-gay marriage campaign group which has been accused of misleading voters by suggesting MPs support its campaign when they do not.
The Conservative politician said she would "vote with her conscience" at today's House of Commons vote on legalising gay weddings.
She joined other MPs across the country – including Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth, and Anne Milton, MP for Guildford – in criticising leaflets from the Coalition for Marriage.
The literature was posted through doors across Miss Lee's constituency and nationwide. It claims the change in law would mean "people will be punished for believing in traditional marriage".
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It adds: "'Genderless marriage will be endorsed in schools and parents who disagree will be sidelined."
It includes a picture of the local MP and calls on the reader to "tell them not to redefine marriage".
Miss Lee said: "I have raised the issue with the organisation. They could have had the courtesy to contact me if they were going to use my photo and imply the communication was from me."
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill would enable same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies, where a religious institution had formally consented, in England and Wales.
It would also allow couples who had previously entered into civil partnerships to convert their relationship into a marriage.
Miss Lee's comment came as her Tory colleague, Heather Wheeler, MP for South Derbyshire, said she would be among those in her party voting against the Government's planned change. She was not available to comment further yesterday.
Fellow Tory, Derbyshire Dales MP and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, will vote for the change, his office confirmed.
And Derby's Labour MPs Chris Williamson and Margaret Beckett said they were for the move. Mr Williamson said: "It's no threat to the institution of marriage, as far as I'm concerned."
Tory Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills said he would vote having heard the debates on the day. Tory Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham was not available for comment.
No-one at the Coalition for Marriage was available for comment yesterday but it has previously argued allegations it has tried to mislead people are "wholly mendacious".
A spokesman has said: "In no way have we implied the MPs support or disagree with same-sex marriage." They said it was standard practice for campaign groups to use photographs of MPs in their literature.