Lorraine Kelly has condemned Esther McVey‘s stance on LGBT+ rights a day after an awkward on-air exchange with the Tory leadership hopeful.
The Scottish TV personality said she “strongly disagreed” with the Conservative MP’s approach to gay rights and was “sick to the back teeth of the whole toxic political atmosphere”.
Ms McVey, who is languishing near the bottom of polls showing support for the 10 Tory contenders, was criticised last month after she backed parents protesting against LGBT+ relationship lessons in schools.
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The MP for Tatton in Cheshire, who launched her campaign on Monday insisting Britain had “nothing to fear” from a no-deal Brexit, has consistently voted against equal rights in the Commons.
In 2013 she defended voting against same-sex marriage, saying she could not support a bill which favoured the rights of gay people over those with religious beliefs.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday morning, Ms Kelly said: “I got sick to the back teeth of the whole toxic political atmosphere, you know?
“I strongly disagree with her on LGBT rights, and I just thought to myself, I’ve had enough of this.
“We’ve had two and a half years of people going round in circles and not sorting Brexit out. And now we’ve got a state in Britain where people are at each other’s throats and it’s got to stop.”
Ms Kelly said she was “really, really, really disappointed” that Ruth Davidson, the openly gay Scottish Conservatives leader, was not standing in the race.
The television presenter’s comments triggered an outpouring of support.
LGBT+ rights campaigner Linda Riley said: “This is what an ally does when they disagree with homophobia.”
Radio host James O’Brien wrote: “I love @reallorraine & I don’t care who knows it! Our paths rarely cross these days but she is one of the most decent & professional people in the business.”
Labour MP Wes Streeting added: “At this stage I am willing to be governed by a benevolent dictatorship led jointly by Lorraine Kelly and Gary Lineker.”
Stonewall’s director of campaigns, policy and research, Laura Russell, said: “We were set up in 1989 to oppose the introduction of Section 28, a devastating piece of legislation that effectively banned conversations about same-sex relationships in school and came about due to divisive debates.
“Today, conversations about LGBT-inclusive education echo those messages from back then. Now, more than ever, we need everyone who cares about equality to show their support to make the world a better place for every lesbian, gay, bi and trans person.”
Ms Kelly also said she was “baffled” by any suggestion that the apparent feud stemmed from the 1990s when both women were working as ITV presenters.
Asked about Monday morning’s on-air exchange, the Tory MP said: “We used to share a dressing room, she used to be on the programme afterwards and obviously she used to be partnered with Eamonn Holmes.
“Then I was promoted to be partnered with Eamonn Holmes.”
Ms Kelly responded on Tuesday: “Well who wouldnt want to fight over Eammon Holmes, frankly.
“I’m baffled. There is no battle [with Esther McVey], I’m baffled by that though becuase I have had my own show since 1992 and I don’t actually think she joined until five years later – and as far as sharing dressing rooms go, it wasn’t really like that.”
Ms McVey co-hosted GMTV in the late 1990s after beginning her television career as a presenter on CBBC.
She left the media industry and went into business before being elected to parliament in 2010
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