Respect MP George Galloway, the
rebel former Labour MP who appeared earlier this year before the United
States Senate Committee investigating improprieties
surrounding the Oil-for-Food programme, is now
being asked to explain why his party dumped gay rights from its manifesto.
Allegations abound that Respect’s
right-wing Islamist backers demanded the axing of gay rights as a condition
of their electoral support for the party.
At Respect’s annual conference on
Sunday (20 November), delegates rebelled against party leaders who vetoed
the inclusion of gay equality in the party's manifesto for the 2005 general
The victorious conference
resolution 47 stated: “Conference regards it as unacceptable that our
manifesto for the general election did not contain any reference to the
defence of LGBT rights.”
From the conference platform,
Respect leader Lindsay German, who is also a senior leader of the Socialist
Workers Party, disparaged the resolution, claiming it had a “hidden agenda”
and was moved in “bad faith”.
“Despite the motion being passed by
the grassroots membership, Respect's leaders offered no apology and no
assurance that LGBT rights will be included in future election manifestos,”
said gay left-wing human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.
“Respect claims to support LGBT
rights but the exclusion of gay rights from its election manifesto suggests
“On the Respect website, gay
equality is shunted to the sidelines, listed semi-anonymously under ‘Other
policies’. This shows that Respect regards LGBT rights as a marginal issue
of no serious interest or concern. Equally alarming, the policy section of
Respect’s website has no section on women’s rights.
“Respect's disrespect for LGBT
people is part of a pattern. One of the party’s top leaders, Lindsay
German, notoriously warned that gay rights are not a ‘shibboleth’ and should
not prevent Respect forging electoral alliances with homophobic religious
“Respect is in alliance with the
right-wing, anti-gay Islamist group, the Muslim Association of Britain [MAB],”
Mr. Tatchell pointed out, adding that the party does not ally with liberal
and left-wing Muslims.
“The MAB endorses the recreation of
an Islamic Caliphate where Muslims would be subjected to the barbarism of
Sharia law, which includes the execution of unchaste women, apostates and
“Respect has betrayed progressive
Muslims, in favour of an alliance with Islamist conservatives and
fundamentalists whose policies on gay and women’s rights are even more
reactionary than those of the despicable neo-Nazi BNP.
“Respect has failed to defend gay
Muslims against fundamentalist Islamists and it attacks gay rights groups
that support Muslim queers.
“The politics of Respect on LGBT
rights is reformist at best. It's policies are far less radical than those
of the Liberal Democrats. Unlike Respect, the Lib Dems included gay rights
in their manifesto,” said Mr Tatchell.
Outrage! website (Note that the Outrage!
website has technical problems and was not available when this page was