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Havering MP dropped from church scheme for views on abortion and gay rights

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 October 2011

MP Jon Cruddas

MP Jon Cruddas

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A Havering MP has been dropped from a religious internship project because his views on abortion and gay adoption contrasts with those held by the Catholic Church.

Practising Roman Catholic Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, was to take part in a ten-month scheme in which Catholic lay leaders are placed with Christian MPs to gain political and social experience in a spiritual context.

Bishop John Arnold, who oversees the scheme, said the aim was to “help form the consciences of the next generation of Catholic lay leaders, working towards the common good.”

However, after an interview with political journalist Andrew Marr on his show, Mr Cruddas’s views on abortion went against those held by the church.

He said it should be “safe, legal and rare” and it is a “pro-choice” decision.

Similarly, his views on gay adoption sparked controversy.

When questioned by Andrew over the church being forced to either open its adoption agencies to gay couples or close down, Mr Cruddas told him: “I fully support the gay adoption proposals the Government put into place.”

Now his place on the scheme was reversed.

A spokesman for the Catholic Bishop’s Conference said: “We seek to ensure that their [the MPs on the scheme] views on fundamental moral questions are consonant with those of the Catholic Church.

“One of the MPs we intended to work with this year has views on abortion significantly at variance with the Church’s position.”

Despite the rebuke, Mr Cruddas told the Recorder he will continue to work with the church on a number of local and national issues and said he understood its decision.

“It was just a pity I couldn’t be of help in this instance,” he said. “Simply put, no one likes abortion, but simply outlawing it could lead us back to the days of the backstreet.”

Darinka Aleksic from Abortion Rights, a pro-choice campaign group, said : “We are really pleased Jon stood up for pro-choice.

“There are many pro-choice Catholics. We don’t think his support should bar him from any area of his Catholic duties.”

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