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PinkNews Boss Defends Awarding David Cameron 'Ally Of The Year'

The decision left some furious.

27/10/2016 12:20 | Updated 27 October 2016

A gay publication has hit back at criticism over its decision to name David Cameron “ally of the year”.

PinkNews chief executive Benjamin Cohen told The Huffington Post UK that the former prime minister had been given the award because of his contribution to the introduction of same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

He said: “It’s pretty simple that the previous winners of this award have been Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Baroness Lynne Featherstone and Alex Salmond, all for their contribution to introduce same-sex marriage in Great Britain. David Cameron is the obvious person that is missing from that list because he was instrumental in introducing same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

“That’s the reason why he was presented with the award last night at the PinkNews Awards, because of his contribution to introducing same-sex marriage and all of the other people who have received that award in previous years were recognised for exactly the same thing.

PinkNews
Cameron receiving his ‘ally of the year’ award from Pink News executive Benjamin Cohen (second left) with his fiance Dr Antony James (third left) and Subodh Rathod and Niranjan Kamatkar

“No one can argue that David Cameron was not instrumental in introducing it in exactly the same way that Alex Salmond was absolutely instrumental in introducing same-sex marriage in Scotland.”

Cohen also pointed to the fact that even Cameron’s former political opponent Jeremy Corbyn had paid tribute to him.

He said: “As Jeremy Corbyn said last night, had David Cameron not championed it, it’s likely that thousands of gay couples - including myself, I’m planning to get married next year - would not be able to get married in this country.

“The thing which I find strange about the people on Twitter saying things is that the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who is no friend of David Cameron, came to the PinkNews Awards and the bulk of his speech as praising David Cameron’s legacy on same-sex marriage and paying tribute to the fact that Cameron worked across party lines and argued with many members of his own parliamentary party to ensure that thousands of gay couples have been able to get married.”

The decision to award David Cameron prompted a passionate response on social media last night.

In a blog on HuffPost UK, graphic designer and political activist Jake Johnstone said: “For gay marriage I thank decades of LGBT people on the streets, throwing bricks and spilling blood, protesting against policies that treated us like second class citizens. Not a homophobic Tory who did all he could to treat us like second class citizens until he wanted our vote.

“David Cameron is no ally of mine. He is no ally of the LGBT community. Pink News can hang their heads in fucking shame. ‘Ally of The Year’? Not in my name.”

Speaking after receiving the award, Cameron said: “I think it was five years ago this month that I said to a Conservative party conference that I wanted us to champion equal marriage, that I wanted marriage to be there for men to marry men and women to marry women, as well as marriage as we’ve known it. And I’m really proud that we carried it through.”

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