Labour peers fear last minute plot to derail gay marriage law

LABOUR peers are convinced opponents of same sex marriage bill will attempt to wreck the draft law when it returns to the chamber later this month, according to emails seen by City A.M.

Lord Alli has written to fellow Labour members of the upper house to claim that Lord Dear, a leading opponent of the bill, “has asked for his supporters to be ready” on 17 June to vote for the removal of clause one from the legislation.

This clause includes the crucial statement that “marriage of same sex couples is lawful”.

A separate email sent to Labour peers says: “We are aware that Lord Dear is intending to put down an amendment to oppose Clause 1 of the Bill. This is likely to come fairly early on Monday 17th.”

Yesterday Lord Dear, who failed to stop the bill at second reading, said he is “most definitely not doing” what is described in the emails.

“The next stage is to go the other way, be very mature about it and see what can be done in committee,” he explained, citing issues involving divorce, artificial insemination, and protecting the beliefs of teachers.

But one peer who opposes the bill said clause one could be targeted later at report stage if concessions are not made during committee.