Tony Blair has reportedly been forced to back down over plans to exempt Catholic adoption agencies from new equality laws designed to end homophobic discrimination.
It had previously been reported that Equalities Minster Ruth Kelly and Tony Blair were looking for a way to exempt the agencies and earlier this week the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, wrote to the Cabinet threatening to close the agencies if an exemption wasn’t granted.
A number of today’s papers claim the Prime Minister has been forced to backtrack in the wake of widespread Cabinet opposition, Ministers including Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain had publicly rejected the calls.
Mr Hain has recently introduced the same regulations to Northern Ireland, a move which has faced criticism in the province by Catholics.
It is understood that the agencies will now merely be given a transition period of 6 months to come into compliance with the new laws.
Related Discussion: Religion and Homophobia