Ben Howlett – Member of Parliament for Bath and once-upon-a-time eurosceptic supporter – has been ridiculed for suggesting Britain should remain in the European Union (EU) in order to change the LGBT policies of Hungary and Poland.
After posting an article on the Gay Times website, Mr. Howlett shared it with his Facebook followers, only to receive a torrent of mockery and anger for his assertion that “The EU protects the rights of LGBT people across the continent, which is so important when legislation at the domestic level falls short.”
But even his gay followers weren’t convinced, with one responding: “Ben shame on you! Using general commentary on the EU to push a remain agenda! LGBT rights are very important and you are demeaning them by comments such as “indeed we should point out that domestic legislation is still not good enough in many EU countries.” You have pushed a remain agenda by inappropriately linking of a problem in the wider EU! Your much better than this Ben!”
Not one to take it lying down, Howlett blasted back now making the case that Britain should remain in the EU to change other countries LGBT laws: “I have personally sat through meetings with fellow EU countries tackling the issues of equal rights. This has caused the likes of Poland and Hungary to reflect on their views. The UK would not be present at these EU meetings if we left.”
To which he received the response: “your job is in Bath NOT in Europe meddling in other countries!”
And it appears Mr. Howlett had his facts wrong, too. Another fan who later applauded the MP’s record on LGBT rights said: “The trans women case to which he refers was decided in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and not the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The difference being the ECJ is an EU structure so following Brexit we would not be subject to its decisions, whereas the ECHR is not an EU structure (its members include Russia) and we will remain subject to its decisions following Brexit. As such, our membership of the EU had no effect on the ability of the trans women to apply to the ECHR or for the court to find against the UK.
“If even our own Members of Parliament do not understand the web of EU supranational organisations how are lay persons supposed to? surely this is one of many reasons to vote leave.”
Another fan commented: “Ben, if you can’t be arsed to do the job you’re paid a lot of money to do – i.e govern; & want to hand it to a foreign power to do that job, why not just resign & let someone do the job of governing that you clearly don’t want to do. Sick of the lies & propganda spewing out from the mouths of the remainians. Do you have any idea how enraged the grassroots are with the leadership & their poodles lies? It’s sickening.”
One gay fan also chimed in to blast Howlett for making homosexuality into a constituency: “Not so long ago, conservatives were critical of labour for assuming that all lgbt people would and should vote for left wing parties and being both furious and astonished that lgbt people could and would vote conservative.
“Lgbt people are not cohesive in their political views, some are right wing, some are left and all are capable of sharing the concerns and fears of both the leave and remain camps.To suggest that
“To suggest that lgbt people should vote remain solely on the basis of lgbt issues is to demote us all to being single issue voters determined by our sexuality.
“I’m sorry Ben, but I’m more than that.”
But Mr. Howlett did have SOME support, primarily from a young man who asserted: “Men on the continent are just a lot hotter than in the UK. mmm Italians. I’m Gay #VoteStay“.
While he was told by other Facebook commenters “You don’t have to be in a political union with them to jump into bed with them”, his response was: “You do if you want to screw them for a period longer than 3 months!”