Policy Exchange pull out gay marriage debate

Anglican Mainstream is going ahead with an empty chair debate on gay marriage after a Westminster think tank pulled out of the event at the last minute.

Policy Exchange has withdrawn from the debate with the socially conservative group of Anglicans that has been scheduled to coincide with the Tory conference.

Despite Policy Exchange's decision not to participate, the Real Marriage v Gay Marriage fringe event will go ahead as planned in Birmingham on Tuesday.

Anglican Mainstream executive secretary Canon Chris Sugden questioned the reluctance to debate the issue.

"We are very disappointed," said Mr Sugden. "It looks as if the Tory hierarchy don't want the grassroots discussing the issue.

"However the debate will go ahead – with an empty chair representing Policy Exchange.

"There are strong arguments in favour of real marriage and strong ones against gay marriage.

"We will make the case that real marriage ensures the future.”

The debate is taking place on Tuesday in Room 107, Jury’s Inn, 245 Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2HQ.