Norris attacks Conservatives' anti-gay stance

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Indy Politics

Steven Norris, a Conservative Party vice-chairman, has attacked some senior Tories for being anti-gay and undermining William Hague's attempts to show that the party is tolerant.

Steven Norris, a Conservative Party vice-chairman, has attacked some senior Tories for being anti-gay and undermining William Hague's attempts to show that the party is tolerant.

Mr Norris rounded on Lord Tebbit, a former party chairman, saying: "Norman Tebbit thinks every homosexual is a closet paedophile. He is entitled to his view but it's not one I or I believe any decent person shares." He said some people viewed homosexuality as evidence of "moral turpitude" and "moral laxity."

He also criticised Baroness Young, the Tory peer who led the successful rebellion in the Lords against the Government's plans to scrap Section 28, which bans local authorities from promoting homosexuality.

Mr Norris said Baroness Young believed homosexuality was clearly inferior as a lifestyle. "In my view, the words inferiority or superiority are completely irrelevant to the argument because people don't choose to be gay or be straight," he said in an interview with the ePolitix.com website, to be published today.

The Tory vice-chairman insisted that Mr Hague was not anti-gay, even though he backed the retention of Section 28. Saying that Mr Hague was "entitled to his view," Mr Norris insisted that Section 28 had not been effective.

He called for the "monochrome" Tory party to reform its organisation and appointments system to ensure that more women and blacks won prominent positions. He admitted the party's attempts to become more representative had been slowed by its dislike of positive discrimination.

He conceded: "Labour took the issue of positive discrimination head on - black sections, women-only shortlists - and produced a party which looks much more like Britain."

Mr Norris said Mr Hague had shown his commitmentto an inclusive party by appointing him as a party vice-chairman after he stood as the Tory candidate for Mayor of London on a "caring Conservative" ticket.

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