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Press Cycle #2 - Portillo’s Resignation
Media Cycle:

“After admitting to homosexual experiences with his own Deputy in the past, was it right for Michael Portillo to resign as leader of the Conservative Party?”

This press cycle will be closed at 23:59 on the 27/01/18. 

Remember to bolden the “tagline” of your statement. 
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The idea that admitting to homosexual relations is either shameful or resignation worthy is frankly a black mark on our entire nation. In the 60s we agreed that discrimination on the basis of gender and race was abhorrent so why should discrimination on the grounds of sexuality be any different? We need to come together as a nation and demand equal rights for the homosexual community in all facets of life, starting with the repeal of the shameful Section 28 which is currently being bogged down by a concerted effort in the unelected, unrepresentative House of Lords.

'Emergencies' have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded. - Friedrich Hayek
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman
Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program. - Milton Friedman

Mac the Great and Powerful
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It is a shame that Michael has felt it necessary to step down as leader because of previous homosexual relations. Long ago our country recognised that homosexuality is not illegal and that homosexual Britons deserve to live their lives in peace in our country. Michael should not have resigned as leader of his party over this, and I suspect that he didn't wish to but certain factions of his backbench MPs may have applied undue pressure out of an adherence to outdated beliefs. What this shows us is that we, as a country and as a Government, must redouble our efforts to bring about greater equality for homosexual people in Britain, that efforts taken decades ago have not gone far enough and action should be taken now if we are to ensure that all Britons can lives together equally.
Rt Hon Oscar Hattingly QC MP
Member for Truro
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
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Look, we can make this into a whole load of things, but the fact is, he's resigned. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't easy for him. Let's respect that and move on. As a party, I feel we should seize this opportunity to show once again what we're about - providing a clear, modern alternative to this Labour Government. Whoever succeeds Michael will be able to build on the common-sense, power-to-you kind of solutions he offered, and should, in my opinion.
the Rt Hon. Angus "Gus" Quigley MP | Conservative MP for Crosby (1992-present)
Opposition Chief Whip (2000-) and Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Secretary (2000-)
Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1999-2000)

"Get Netflix at the PM's Office."
- Sybrand Buma, when asked what his first act as Prime Minister of the Netherlands would be.
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In modern politics, the party and its vision needs to come first and foremost and Michael's decision to stand aside ensures that the Conservative's ambitious plan for Britain's future can continue to shine through. The Conservatives are providing Britain with a capable and prepared alternative, holding the Labour Government to account and bringing the important issues to the forefront of the national agenda. We shall continue to do so as we enter a new leadership, a debate which will be good for the party and country. We shall continue to look forward to the next election and the next Conservative Government and our overarching aim to be ambitious about Britain's future.
Aaron | Coaching Admin
Civil Service roles: FCO, MoD, Environment
Press roles: Foreign coverage
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It is deeply disappointing that Michael has chosen to stand down based on a private subject that should be of no concern to anybody but himself. It is appalling that he has effectively been hounded out by a press more interested in blood and readership than of strength of character or political importance. This is clearly not a decision as has been claimed, but instead a push of a cliff, from which Michael could not return. Whilst we do not see eye to eye on political issues, it will be a great shame for this country to lose such a dedicated statesman as himself from the national stage.
MP for Kensington

(In previous lives: violated a confidence and supply agreement, tried to fight a man on Eton's nine-hole golf course, released a leaflet torpedoing ones own party, was likened to an M&M shovelling money into a fireplace and co-founded Solidarity 2.0 ft. much anarchy)
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I am deeply and profoundly sad to see Michael go, to be honest. He was a wonderful man to his constituents, and has done his level best in leading our Opposition to this present Government. I have been told that Michael has done what he has done out of a wish to not let his personal life get in the way of Party business, and from working alongside the man, this is in keeping with Michael's character. I will say that his retirement is certain to provoke frank, welcome and honest discussion about how to ensure that we can continue, as Michael did, to give Britons a clear, coherent alternative to this Labour Government.
Francis Paris PhD (Londin) MP
Member for Arundel and South Downs
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and the Environment
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I am saddened to see Michael stand down in this way. Michael's sexuality should not have been brought into the public eye in the way it has been. And the media should never have pushed him to resign in the way they have. I would like to put on record my thanks to Michael for leading our party courageously, it was also very brave of him to admit his sexuality. However, this should not be a reason to be effectively forced out of your job. The press should really be ashamed of themselves. At the end of the day, we now must move on as a party and continue to represent our constituents and members. We must also unite behind the new leader, whoever that may be.
Paul Dolan

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I think that Michael realised that his personal life had the potential to eclipse the work he has done up to this point to bring our party back from the disaster in 1997. Ultimately that means he did what was right, for himself, the party and the country. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to him for the hard work he put into the party and I hope the next leader of the party builds on his work holding the government to account and bringing the Conservatives to government.
Thomas Joseph Lowe | MP for Mansfield (1979-Present)

"We are not just here to manage capitalism but to change society and to define its finer values." - Tony Benn
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For those who wish to turn Mr. Portillo's resignation into a cause célèbre for delivering the coup de grâce into Section 28, the fact of the matter still remains - both Mr. Portillo and Mr. Lilley have admitted to past sexual liaisons while they have effectively put their wives through an ordeal that no one should be put through. This raises a general question of how the Tories will treat any future leaders based of how this episode and past examples of what occurred during the leadership of John Major. The Tories will seemingly never be united and will resort to using any sort of material at their disposal to remove a leader of their party which is not from their own special little wing of the party. We have to ask ourselves, if the Tories can't even provide stable effective leadership in opposition after being routed at the last election, do they really deserve to be given a second chance and returned to office at the next election?
James Keating | Labour
Member of Parliament for Bootle (1974-present)
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Real Ale
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Mr. Portillo's resignation frankly shows how far the Conservative Party needs to go to live in the 21st century. I'm sure most people in this country - whatever they personally think of homosexuality - don't give two figs what he did in his private life either now or in the past, so long as it was lawful and harmed nobody. This is symptomatic of a wider issue here - we've had the Tory party lining up en masse to maintain homophobic legislation an an unequal age of consent, and now they have forced out a decent man albeit one I disagreed with purely because of homosexual acts in his past. The Conservative Party needs to take a long hard look at itself and ask why it was so unwilling to stand by its leader.
Rt. Hon. Sean Manning MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer (2000 - )
Labour MP for Bristol East (1992 - )
Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1997 - 2000)
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I think Michael's resignation presents a time in our country where we now have to assess what is needed for a more modern and robust Britain. Personally, the Government has no business deciding what one individual does in the bedroom, or concerning themselves at all with those activities. The party of personal, economic and social freedom can not allow itself to be bogged down in such a matter as this.
Harold Jones MP
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 
MP for Solihull
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Despite what disagreements I may have had with him and his policies, I don't believe it was right for Michael to be antagonized and forced out leadership as he was over this incident. Can't we just let the man alone considering his private life is now in the national media, and people are only putting oxygen on the fire by shaming each other over this? We've got to move onto the issues that really matter, with a resolution to not pounce on tabloid stories of our nation's public servants.
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I am very saddened to see Michael to go. He was a passionate and enthusiastic leader for the party. I would like to point out the way media handle this issue. Are they doing their jobs properly? It is not appropriate way to deal with the issue. However, as a party member, I hope new leader would unite the party in this hard time.
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"I won't comment on the alleged affair between Michael and Peter Lilley, since those allegations haven't been substantiated. As for Michael's admitted homosexual experiences in the past, I think it's a sad reflection on both our political establishment and the media climate that such an admission could distract from the business of the Parliament. MPs, regardless of how much power they wield in the chamber, should not be intimidated out of a job because of their sexual orientation. I'm sorry to see Michael step down, especially over a matter so trivial. I'm very grateful for the service he's given our party. He will be greatly missed by this Tory."
Russ Barley
Conservative and Unionist Party - European Research Group
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I was surprised that Michael went and I am sorry he did. Having worked with Michael I know he is an honest individual who stands up for what he believes in, it was entirely his decision to go and his decision should be respected by all of us, regardless of who we are, our party affiliation or ideology. The Conservatives will move forward under new leadership and continue to hold this Government to account.
James Allen

MP for Leeds Central

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To me it is undeniable that Michael Portillo restored a sense of vision and a sense of purpose into the Conservative Party, and I am proud that we had him as our leader over the past few years. He put the party first, for he knew all too well the media would ruthlessly exploit a matter which in no way should have led to his departure. Once again we see the irresponsible media focused on their self-serving quest for ratings that all too often ruins people's lives and reputation, and in this case, undermine a good leader who could have been a great Prime Minister for this country.
Rt. Hon. Edward Winter MP / Conservative and Unionist Party
Member of Parliament for Ashford (1979 - Present)

Shadow Foreign Secretary (1992 - Present)
Leader of the House of Commons (1990-1992)
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The Tory party have shown themselves to be the party of the past and not a party fit for a 21st century modern Britain. Hearsay and innuendo of the tabloid gutter press should not be allowed to destroy people's careers, marriages and lives. If Mr Portillo wishes to join a political party that does not poke its nose into the sexual history of consenting adults he should join the Labour party.
Joseph "Uncle Joe" Flanagan
Member of Parliament for Easington 1983 - Present
Secretary of State for Natural Resources & Environment 1992 - Present

Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 1987-1992
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Press Cycle closed.
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Labour: 16.5
Blatant and cynical opportunism is never appreciated in politics – that said, Portillo’s resignation was under dubious circumstances. It’s worth remembering a lot of people in Britain, in the summer of 2000, didn’t approve of gay sex at all. And even some more liberal voters will stroke their chins disapprovingly because Portillo’s circumstances are linked, however dubiously, to his Deputy Leader. A little more grit (without homophobia, of course, as the party is pushing for equality) could have perhaps done you better, but the public appreciate the mature front you put up.
Conservatives: 16.5 
Admittedly this set up another trap for the Tory Party – Kennedy and Smith left in respectable (but sad) circumstances. Portillo, in the most Portillo fashion, had to go out with a bit more scandal.
Crucially, there was no bitter infighting or disagreement either. Most importantly, you conveyed to the country you’re ready to move forward and promote a new (but not too new – you are the Conservative Party after all!) vision to the British people. That means, despite the circumstances, the Tories get a bit of a free pass. The support – or least lack of disapproval – some of you seem to give to gay rights is interesting: it could definitely make the Tory Party look more moderate, and definitely makes them look more human, but a chunk of your core base are feeling a bit bewildered and isolated. Thankfully, the alternatives (LD & Labour) are even more socially liberal – so there’s no one else they can flock to… yet.
Liberal Democrats: 17
The mood music in the year 2000 isn’t completely on board with LGBT+ rights, but if you’re going to be the outlier, you might as well be bold about it and tell about half of the country their attitude is toxic and unjust. It’s often said that bad press is better than no press at all, and while that’s definitely not true in politics, in this case it may be a good thing for the Liberal Democrats.
Somehow, you make the front page of the Express in a wanted poster. The bile doesn't end there: The Mail controversially laments: “Who’ll protect the children from the Liberal Democrats?” Small c conservative voters & older voters are put off – although you arguably don’t have much sway over them anyway. Sadly, some swing voters will be uncomfortable with your stance and may tiptoe towards a less outwardly hostile Labour or a more representative Tory Party. More metropolitan, younger and LGBT voters, however, like how you have the courage in your conviction to say it how they see it. For a day or two, you’re the hero of The Guardian and The Independent, and there is a frank discussion in the media about homosexuality and homophobia – who knows, perhaps in the future you and other Parliamentarians who expressed similar sentiment will be on the right side of history.
Influence Point Awarded to:
Rebecca Flair: “The idea that admitting to homosexual relations is either shameful or resignation worthy is frankly a black mark on our entire nation.” – Explained in the Liberal Democrat section.
Elizabeth Tanner: “What this shows is that we, as a country, must redouble our effort to bring about greater equality for homosexual people in Britain, that efforts were taken decades ago have not gone far enough and action should be taken now if we are to ensure that all Britons can live together equally.” – You did what Rebecca did, but perhaps more tactically: older voters and the like might not totally be on board with what you had to say, but you said it in a way that was measured enough so that they didn’t spit out their dentures. Considering Labour's electoral coalition, avoiding outright insulting some of your blue collar voters as you push for equalities is probably wise.
Hilda Asher-Grey: “Michael’s decision to stand aside ensures the Conservatives’ ambitious plan for Britain’s future can continue to shine through.” – Once again, Hilda has done what the Tories did correctly here and done it in an exemplary way. No moralising, no bitterness, no distractions: the Tories will move on and present a vision for Britain. Hilda’s attitude is one that may not just appeal to right wing media outlets, but more centrist ones too – they begin to wonder why she missed out on that chance to be Leader of the Opposition or even Prime Minister...
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