You may have already seen this nonsense in yesterday’s Independent.
Exclusive: right-wing Christian group pays for Commons researchers
As the Prime Minister bows to church pressure on embryology legislation, Jane Merrick and Brian Brady investigate the long parliamentary reach of a pro-life group opposed to the Bill.
An evangelical Christian charity leading opposition to new laws on embryo research is funding interns in MPs’ offices, an investigation by The Independent on Sunday has discovered.
Christian Action, Research and Education (Care) faces inquiries into its lobbying activities by the Charity Commission and the House of Commons standards watchdog after accessing Parliament at the highest levels.
Twelve research assistants sponsored by Care are Commons pass-holders, allowing them unrestricted access to Westminster in the run-up to highly sensitive and potentially close votes on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill next month. At least two MPs face questions after they omitted to declare they have Care-sponsored staff.
Charities are allowed to carry out political campaigning, but Charity Commission rules state they "must not give support or funding to a political party, or to a candidate or politician"
Firstly, don’t you just love how the headline says "right-wing Christian group". If in doubt, call those you don’t like "right wing". It conjures up pictures of Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan without having to actually draw a direct comparison. I’m sure as well that all the Labour and Lib-Dem MPs that have Care interns are just rabidly right-wing.
The Methodist Preacher has a nice summary of the stupidity of this all
The focus of the attack is the imaginative scheme that has been run by Care for many years to give young Christians a taste of political life by †providing them the opportunity to work for an MP as an unpaid intern.
When I was in the European Parliament I never actually had a Care Intern, but two of my research assistants were former House of Commons Care interns and were excellent. One is now back at Westminster and was designated "Researcher of the Year".
It wasn’t so long ago that many British Evangelicals turned their back on politics entirely. It would be a sad day for all if this scheme was to be subject to disruption and slander. I don’t agree with several of Care’s policies but I certainly respect their work for these young people. Expect more dirty tricks from the bio-technology industry, I saw them at work for myself.
If any young Christians think that God is calling them i†nto politics, please don’t hesitate to follow up the Care link. You’ll be well looked after – and I’m not talking about money – and have the opportunity of learning about politics at first hand.
David raises the issue that this is all just a put-up job by those in favour of the new Embryology Bill. Care interns have been working in Parliament for well over a decade and nobody has raised an objection before. Now, however, as it looks as though the Bill may have a tough time getting through Parliament, suddenly this evil fascist evangelical insiderist group has been exposed!!!
Of course this is all rubbish. The leader in the Independent states:
That, then, is the debate. Any individual or association of individuals has a right to put their arguments to MPs, who will vote on the Bill some time after next week’s recess. But there are two grounds for concern about the way Care has sought to persuade MPs to vote against parts of the Bill. One is the use of paid interns apparently to obtain access and influence in the Palace of Westminster. The other is the question of what political activities are compatible with charitable status – a status that confers tax benefits on the organisation concerned.
Hmmm…. "the use of paid interns apparently to obtain access and influence in the Palace of Westminster". Interesting. How many of the MPs that have Care interns have reported that their intern has attempted to exercise undue influence upon them? Half? Five or six? Two? One?
The Independent has demonstrated absolutely no evidence that this allegation has any substance to it. So when it writes
It is not because this newspaper supports the Embryology Bill that we take issue with the methods Care deploys in opposing it. It is because it appears to be using its money to purchase access to the House of Commons – access that is particularly valuable in seeking to persuade MPs in a free vote, when the usual disciplines of the whips’ offices are relaxed.
it has no proof of this whatsoever. In fact, yours truly is in the process of contacting all the MPs who have Care interns to check this fact.
One wonders what the reason for the objection is then? Must be because the Independent is a liberal newspaper that can’t stand the idea of losing in a free vote.