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For the discussion of general topics, for which there is no existing press cycle.

Remember to bold your taglines, and to keep it short-ish. That's how you make sure the media gets your core message!

If you've got something you want to discuss, and believe it's a subject that warrants its own cycle, don't hesitate to ask a member of the Ateam if we'll set up a specific thread for it.
After a long period of relative stability, the Labour Party is clearly now at war with itself. Having edged Tony Blair out of office, various factions are aligning themselves to take power. The first shots have already been fired: accusations, smears, and rumors abound – many of them vicious.

However shambolic, the democratic process within Labour must be allowed to run its course. However, Labour is now a party that is more focused on the internal pursuit of power than on the priorities of the people of the United Kingdom.
Lest we forget, Tory MP Sebastian Knight has reminded the country today why we can't trust the Tories in Government - he wants to turn the clock back twenty years and re-write homophobic laws onto the statute books. Tweeting his support for section 28, the prominent Tory MP is effectively saying that teachers shouldn't be able to even mention that gay people exist in the classroom - with huge costs not just for gay kids, but for all of our kids who will not grow up understanding that it's okay that people are different.

David Cameron wants us to think the Tories are no longer the nasty party - but his party is still full of the same old Tories.
Eleanor Manning seems to be tarring all Conservatives with the same brush. Such a generalization is dangerous and inaccurate.

I am a Conservative. I support the repeal of Section 28. I support the rights of gay people to live freely and without discrimination. I even support the right of gay couples to marry, should they wish.



Of course, there are some within the Conservative Party who respectfully disgaree with these stances because of religious convictions. It is their right to do so. However, to claim the party is full of the 'same old Tories' is as narrow-minded as it is false. 
Margo Leadbetter is right - not all Tories want to implement anti-gay laws. But it really should come as a worry to her that so many of her colleagues in Parliament hold such virulent anti-gay views. Rather than defending colleagues who have spent their day proposing anti-gay laws and saying that they "don't like" members of the transgendered community, perhaps she should recognise that her party has an enduring problem with homophobia and do something about it. The longer so-called liberal Tories stick their head in the sand, the longer they will deserve the term "nasty party".
I am grateful that Eleanor Manning is able to admit she spoke in error.

As far as I am aware, I have not defended colleages with anti-gay views. Indeed, I have consistently spoken out against discrimination of any kind; and I will continue to do so within and outside of my party.

Of course, there are differences of opinion within all parties - something that Eleanor Manning should understand given the amount of conflict and back-stabbing among Labour MPs jockeying to occupy the vacancy left by Tony Blair. 
I am extremely saddened to hear of the death of Ivan Cameron and send my condolences out to David and Samantha Cameron. To say this is a difficult time for them would be an understatement - there are no words that can effectively describe the tragedy of two parents losing a child. I wish them strength and luck going forward as David steps back from frontline politics.
Of course, as heir apparent, how Gordon Brown treats his subordinates is an incredibly important issue. What is particularly concerning about this saga, however, is that many in government see fit to weaponise private health matters. I fear that this will set back our efforts to fight the stigma surrounding mental health and cultivate fear and prejudice of those with mental health conditions. I condemn unequivocally those who have sought to use innuendo and discrimination in political struggles in this way. We can discuss Gordon Brown's temperament without resorting to smear campaigns about his health.
I thank my colleague, Margot Leadbetter, for pointing out that Eleanor Manning had mis-spoke, however I am afraid she did not misspeak. She told outright lies. She has taken a tweet from one backbench MP, myself and spun this into Conservative policy. I said that I support Section 28, and I believed that we were wrong to repeal it. Eleanor has somehow taken this tweet to suggest that I wish to re-write laws, this is a complete lie. I did not state that I would be proposing legislation, or that I believe somebody would. I never said that I disliked members of the transgendered community, I said that I did not like the "T" being lumped with LGB - what I meant was that I believe there should be a separate movement for transsexuals, as I believe their aims and concerns are completely different to the rest of the LGB community. I can only apologise if this didn't come across correctly on Twitter. I repeat, I never said that I didn't like transsexuals.

She calls me a "prominent Tory", I thank her for the promotion, but I am not a prominent Tory, I am a single backbencher.

And what I dislike the most is that she used words such as "anti-gay" and "homophobic" to describe myself and my position, when she knows full well that I am an openly gay man - the Labour Government should be spending its time dealing with more important issues, such as how addiction can effect even those in politics, how addiction to prescribed drugs needs tackling, rather than pretending that gay Conservative MPs are homophobic.
If the stories about Gordon Brown are true, then it is a tragedy. What is abundantly clear is that he needs help and is, thank God, getting it. This does point, however, to a wider tragedy, namely the growing use of highly-addictive and mind-altering prescription drugs. Mr. Brown is not the first, nor will he be the last, whose career and personal life has suffered at the hands of these drugs. We must come together as a society to discuss the impacts that prescription drugs are having and to find what kinds of alternate treatments may be available. I hope that, for our part, as a Parliament, we can take this affliction seriously and get to work on finding a solution to help those afflicted by mental illness to overcome their struggles without dangerous, addictive, and mind-altering substances.
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