POLITICS
12/12/2013 06:45 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

Gay Marriage 'One In The Eye' For 'Bigot' Lord Tebbit, Says Labour MP

Lord Norman Tebbit, the former chairman of the Conservative Party, speaks in the The Telegraph debate at the Royal Bath hotel in Bournemouth, on the second day of the Tory conference in Bournemouth.
Andrew Parsons/PA Archive
Lord Norman Tebbit, the former chairman of the Conservative Party, speaks in the The Telegraph debate at the Royal Bath hotel in Bournemouth, on the second day of the Tory conference in Bournemouth.

Earlier this week the government announced the first gay weddings will be able to take place on 29 March 2014. Much to the delight of gay marriage campaigners this turns out to also be Lord Tebbit's birthday.

The former Tory chairman was one of the harshest critics of same-sex marriage. He infamously suggested it would allow him to marry his son and also warned of the dangers of a lesbian Queen.

Mocking the value of gay marriages, Lord Tebbit said: "Why shouldn't a mother marry her daughter? Why shouldn't two elderly sisters living together marry each other?"

Welcoming the announcement, Labour MP Chris Bryant told the Commons on Thursday the coincidence, if it was a coincidence, was "one in the eye for the bigots".

The comment drew shouts of outrage from the Conservative benches. Andrew Lansley, the leader of the House of Commons, pulled a disapproving face.

Bryant praised the government for introducing gay marriage, but wanted to know why it would take so long for couples in civil partnerships to be able to "upgrade" them to marriages. "France managed to do it in a week," he said.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said couples wishing to be among the first to marry will need formally to give notice of their intention to marry on 13 March 2014.