The Sweet Smell of Success!Posted: 6 April 2012
My regular readers (thank you, all of you) will remember my post from last month about the 17 members of parliament who have been supplied with interns funded by the homophobic charity CARE (Christian Action Research and Education). I’ve since been on a little mission in persuading the most local of the MPs, Sharon Hodgson (MP for Washington and Sunderland West) to sever ties with CARE.
I am more than overjoyed to announce that both Ms. Hodgson and Catherine McKinnell (MP for Newcastle North) have withdrawn from the scheme, making statements denouncing the views of the charity.
Ms. McKinnell’s statement said;
“Since October, I have had an intern in my Westminster office who is participating in the CARE Leadership Programme. Recently, allegations have been made in relation to an event that CARE part-funded in 2009 relating to “therapeutic approaches to same sex attraction”.
I am deeply concerned by these allegations and, due to the sensitivity of the issues involved, I have taken the decision to terminate my collaboration with CARE’s internship programme with immediate effect, and I will not be taking an intern from the CARE Leadership Programme in the future.”
In her statement Ms. Hodgson said;
“The theories discussed at the conference in question could not be further from my opinion, or the opinions of the young people who have had the opportunity to work in Parliament for me through CARE’s scheme.
I take on CARE interns because I want to give young people interested in politics an opportunity to gain work experience they otherwise wouldn’t have got. At no point have the interns themselves or CARE as an organisation influenced my decisions on any issues, and especially not on gay rights. My voting record on this speaks for itself.
My current intern is a really hard working young man and I have no intention of ruining his internship or future career prospects because of this by cutting his experience short. That said I do not plan to take another intern through this programme in the future.”
I want to thank both Sharon Hodgson and Catherine McKinnell for standing up for equality and sending a clear message to the country that we in the north-east stand against mindless hate.
In no way am I claiming responsibility for this wondrous result, which was sincerely more than I was hoping for, as there have been thousands of people up and down the country fighting to keep even the slightest taint of hate out of our government. I feel so gratified that love and common sense have won out and that I was part of the force that made it happen. If you read my last post and signed the petition then you should be too!
My special thanks should of course go to Phillip Dawson, who has been kindly keeping me informed on the progress of the campaign, which he himself began. In a comment on my previous post Phillip said;
I went on BBC Radio Newcastle on Wednesday and was delighted to hear statements from Sharon Hodgson and Catherine McKinnell both confirming that they will no longer participate in the intern programme, which is brilliant news.
Sadly there are more MPs still involved with the charity, so the petition is ongoing !
Thanks for your help!
As you can see, the fight is not yet over. There are still 14 MPs who have not yet made a statement regarding a withdrawal from the internship scheme. Once again if you live in the constituencies of the following MPs please do e-mail or write to them. Now is a very good time to do so, considering the upcoming elections. Don’t miss the opportunity to make your voice count!
Oh, and if you haven’t yet – sign the petition!
Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP, Berwick-Upon-Tweed (LibDem)
David Burrowes MP, Enfield Southgate (Con)
Paul Burstow MP, Sutton and Cheam (LibDem)
Alistair Burt MP, North East Bedfordshire (Con)
Stephen Crabb MP, Preseli Pembrokeshire (Con)
Tim Farron MP, Westmorland and Lonsdale (LibDem)
John Glen MP, Salisbury (Con)
Stephen O’Brien MP, Eddisbury (Con)
James Paice MP, South East Cambridgeshire (Con)
Andrew Selous MP, South West Bedfordshire (Con)
Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, Meriden (Con)
Gary Streeter MP, South West Devon (Con)
Desmond Swayne MP, New Forest West (Con)
Steve Webb MP, Northavon (LibDem)