“There can be no doubt whatsoever – our recent drubbing in the local elections is down to the fact that we’ve been forced to adopt all these bloody namby-pamby policies like gay marriage in order to placate our Liberal Democrat coalition partners,” Tory backbencher Peter Bonefone has told his local newspaper, the Rutland Cattle Breeders’ Gazette, in the wake of disastrous local council elections which saw the opposition Labour Party seize control of several key councils in England and Wales. “The electorate simply aren’t interested in that sort of nonsense – they want good solid right-wing reactionary policies. Like the return of the death penalty for homosexuality, the crucifixion of illegal immigrants and the abolition of wages for workers.” According to the MP the consequences of these allegedly over-liberal policies are turning voters against the Tories. “It’s quite clear to me that when undecided voters stood in the polling booths last week try to decide where to put their X, the recent increase in drive-by bummings currently plaguing the UK was uppermost in their minds,” he opined. “There’s absolutely no doubt that they blamed these on the legalisation of gay marriages – it just encouraged the sodomites, made them brazen about their buggery – and decided to vote Labour instead of the party they saw as the enablers of this plague of buggerings: the Conservative Party.” When pressed to provide evidence of the supposed increase in street sodomies, Bonefone declined to give any statistics, claiming his allegations were based on anecdotal evidence from fellow Tory backbenchers. “They tell me that since the legalisation of gay marriage, it’s been impossible for them to walk down a street in Soho without being propositioned by at least half a dozen rent-boys,” he told the paper.

Bonefone is one of a growing number of Tory MPs rejecting any suggestion that the coalition government’s unpopularity with voters is down to its taking the country back into recession with its disastrous economic policies, its savage spending cuts and accompanying tax cuts for the super-rich, or just its general incompetence. Despite being the most reactionary and right-wing government in a generation, these backbenchers believe the electorate are clamouring for more right-wing policies and are being punished by the electorate for its liberalism. “If they‘d wanted all this liberalism, with queers flaunting their perversions in the streets, then the electorate would have voted Liberal Democrat at the last General Election, but they didn‘t,” says Bonefone’s fellow backbencher, Sir Bernard Bellowes MP. “But now they’ve got a toe-hold in government, they’re hell-bent on corrupting us all with their degenerate policies. They try to work homosexuality into every bill, for God’s sake! Even reform of the House of Lords – they want to ensure that the Upper House is ’reformed’ by insisting that transsexuals, transvestites, homosexuals and lesbians are all represented there on equal terms with Bishops and peers!”

Some political analysts aren’t surprised by this sudden outbreak of homophobia amongst the Tory rank-and-file. “Many backbenchers fear that the coalition with the Liberal Democrats has diluted the Tory Party’s image as a straightforward political force representing middle England,” says Dr Archie Pribble head of politics at the Glasgow School of Ceramics. “They fear that appearing to give approval to any form of sexuality other than two point four children, monogamous marriage, and heterosexual sex once a week in the missionary position, will be an impossible to sell to the party faithful. These backbenchers fear that alienating their core constituency – middle class reactionaries – like this will result in them losing their seats.” However, other commentators think there might be more to this new attitude than just fear of electoral defeat. “To be frank, it sounds as if they’re in complete denial of their own sexuality,” claims Professor Jerry Mire, visiting Chair of Politics and Sexuality at the Bangkok Institute of Economics. “I mean, the Tory Party has always been riddled with closet homosexuals. The allegations are always flying around – just look at that business a couple of years ago when there were all those stories about Foreign Secretary William Hague sharing his hotel room with a young male researcher. The whole Tory Party seemed to be gripped with hysteria!”

Mire points out that Hague isn’t the first senior Tory whose sexuality has caused consternation amongst the party’s grass roots. Back in the late 1990s, then shadow chancellor Michael Portillo’s admission that, when still a student, he had had a ‘gay experience’, sent shockwaves through the party, calling into question his suitability as a possible leadership candidate. However, Portillo’s admissions came as no surprise to the academic. “When he lost his constituency to an openly gay Labour candidate in the 1997 election, I thought ‘I bet that’s not the first time he’s lost his seat to a young homosexual’”, Professor Mire said, adding that it was obvious that Portillo was an ambitious man who wouldn’t let doubts about his sexual orientation handicap his drive for power. “I had no doubt that he couldn’t wait to get his hands on then Labour Chancellor Gordon Brown’s red box!” He suspects that these current wave of anti-gay hysteria is a result of the Conservatives having their sexual identities challenged by having to work so closely with the Liberal Democrats. “It’s far more difficult to stay in the closet when you find yourself working alongside colleagues who are far less inhibited about displaying their true sexual identity,” muses Mire. “Ultimately, their fears are expressed as angry displays of exaggerated heterosexuality.”

Mire believes that, ultimately, Tory right-wingers fear homosexuality because they associate it with compassion, which, in turn, they associate with weakness. Indeed, he argues that it wasn’t Michael Portillo’s youthful sexual dalliances which denied him the leadership of the Tory party, but rather his compassionate nature. “Despite Portillo’s stern and serious public image, in private he is actually extremely kind and generous, exuding charm to his closest confidants,” he explains. “In fact, he always reminded me of Rock Hudson – hard and brutally masculine on the outside, but with a sensitive and warm interior.” It was this fundamental niceness and decency, Mire contends, which proved unacceptable to the party at large. “The truth is that they prefer complete bastards, who treat the poor and disadvantaged like dirt, whilst showering the party faithful with tax breaks,” he opines. “But sneering whilst they do it, of course.” Indeed, Mire is somewhat surprised that another Tory front bencher accused of being gay around the same time as the Portillo revelations, didn’t become leader. “I remember that when completely unfounded rumours that then senior Tory minister Peter Lilley was gay began to circulate, his wife quickly scotched them with the assertion that her husband was “the least homosexual” man she knew,” recalls the Professor. “Which was absolutely true – he was a totally butch bastard. Exactly the sort of person the Tories usually like to be dominated by, but, for some reason, the suspicion lingered that being even slightly ‘gay’ could be equated with kindness and compassion.” However, in today’s new caring and sensitive Tory party, such suspicions would surely be an advantage, wouldn’t they? “As Hague has found out, a leopard never changes its spots,” Mire points out bitterly. “He’s having to go around telling people that he only shared a room with that male aide so as to save money and thereby cut his departmental budget, in order to look hard, rather than gay. He’s not fooling me, though!”