Stonewall provided a handy guide to the phrases they expected to crop up most frequently in last week's equal marriage Second Reading in the Lords (see right, click for enlargement), and sure enough Norman Tebbit managed to hit about half of them in his first couple of minutes, but there's a reason why no-one creates any bingo cards for Lord James of Blackheath's helpful contributions. No Foundation X this time, but the prolonged section where he takes a detour through Sussex had a member of staff who had just arrived in the Chamber concerned that she was somehow attending the wrong debate.
Lord James of Blackheath (Con): My Lords, I got a phone call last week from a former colleague of mine, whom I had not heard from or seen for some time, asking if I would come to his same-sex wedding. I said, “Yes, when is it?”. He said, “As soon as you lot have passed the Bill”. I said, “We might not pass it”. He said, “Well, you’ll vote for it won’t you?”. I said, “No, I won’t”. He said, “Well, you can’t come to the wedding then”. I said, “You’ve just exercised extreme prejudice against me. Why are you doing that? You’re pleading that you want this in order not to have prejudice, and now you’re prejudiced against me because I’m saying that I’m going to vote against it”. Then he said, “It’s not you we want, anyway, it’s your wife—she’ll really make the party rock. Can she come instead?”. I said, “Yes, of course she can. You had better write and ask her. She’ll agree”. They did and she is going. ( There's more )