Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting TIMES NEWS to 80360, or email us
Barnet MPs Mike Freer and Matthew Offord clash in House of Commons same-sex marriage debate
A bitter row between two Barnet MPs was fuelled further today as one delivered an impassioned speech in of favour same-sex marriage in the House of Commons.
Finchley and Golders Green representative Mike Freer, who is in a civil partnership, delivered a personal plea to his colleagues, urging them to vote in favour of the same-sex Marriage Bill.
But Hendon MP Matthew Offord, who vehemently opposes the bill, heckled his party colleague and attempted to interject in the middle of the speech.
The pair, who were previously good friends, fell out over the issue last year and have barely spoken since.
Mr Offord previously suggested the acceptance of same-sex marriage could lead to the legalisation of polygamy and has openly opposed the legalisation.
Speaking in the House of Commons today, Mr Freer said: “When colleagues talked about gay marriage making them physically sick, and when colleagues suggested it was a step towards legalising polygamy or incest, they need to remember that there are people involved.
“People’s lives are involved and we need to remember that the words spoken in this chamber hurt far beyond this chamber when we speak.”
Mr Freer is in a civil partnership with his partner of 21 years and questioned MPs as to why they would seek to treat him differently on the issue of marriage.
This afternoon he received cross-party support for his words, which he admitted he was “nervous” about delivering.
Speaking afterwards to the Times Series, Mr Freer said he and Mr Offord still “violently disagree” on the subject but said he did not want to detract from the meaning of his message.
He said: “I know Matthew’s opinions and he is entitled to them, but I do not agree with him.”
On the praise he has received on social networking site Twitter, he added: “It was unexpected. I never expected to get such a terrific response. It was heart warming to know there are people out there who appreciate the comments that were made.”
MPs are due to vote on the matter at 7pm this evening.