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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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HomeElection WatchI vowed I’d never vote Tory again. But . . .

I vowed I’d never vote Tory again. But . . .

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HOW to vote tactically in the North Lancashire constituency of Morecambe and Lunesdale where I live is causing me brainache. But I am probably not going to vote for Nigel Farage.

Here is tentatively why. David Morris is defending a Conservative majority of 6,354 from the 2019 General Election. It seems to me, therefore, that a vote for the Reform candidate would give Labour an even greater majority on July 4.

I did tell Margaret Ashworth, sub-editor of this parish, in the summer of 2020 that I would never vote Conservative again. This was after Morris poured cold water on an idea I had that the church I attended in Morecambe could be allowed to celebrate Holy Communion, then banned in churches, on separate tables in a pub in Cumbria.

As it stands this idea would not be permitted under the COVID guidelines,’ Morris told me. I said to Margaret: ‘It is extraordinary (or perhaps it isn’t) to see a Conservative MP behaving like a Soviet-style commissar towards Christian worship. I told him as politely as I could about my commitment not to vote Conservative again in my life.’ 

With the benefit of hindsight, I think this was a rash commitment made when Boris Johnson was still quite popular and Sir Keir Starmer did not look like the winner he has become since the Tories imploded.

So, this week I contacted Morris. I asked him whether, in the unlikely event that he held on to the seat, he would back Suella Braverman to lead the 100 or so Conservative MPs left after the wipe-out. I also asked him whether he would back David Frost as Conservative Party chairman. If so, he would probably get my vote.

The calculation, however hypothetical, is that Braverman would make a more effective opposition leader in the House of Commons than Farage. He is brilliant on the stump. But I am not sure he would make as good an opposition parliamentarian as Braverman has proved since Rishi Sunak sacked her from the cabinet last year for telling the truth about two-tier policing. Frost, I believe, would be very effective in cleansing Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) of its entrenched Blairism.

I am convinced that a Starmer-led Labour government would turn the UK into an elective dictatorship where orthodox Christianity would be effectively driven underground. This site broke the story of the brutal arrest in Uxbridge of Christian street preacher Pastor John Sherwood in April 2021 for saying that same-sex ‘marriage’ is against biblical teaching. 

In 2022 a district judge at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court upheld the case for the pastor’s defence which centred on his freedom ‘to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority’ as set out in Article 10 of the 1998 Human Rights Act.

But in an article on Christian Today in July last year I warned: ‘It would not be difficult for a left-wing government to pull the rug from under that defence. It could pass a new incitement to homophobic hatred law which would put homophobia on a par with racism. Under that law, with the complainant’s perception of “homophobic hate speech” being put front and centre, Pastor Sherwood’s comments in Uxbridge town centre would be prosecuted in the same way as aggravated racial harassment is now.’

I also warned that ‘the Met in particular seem keen to follow up complaints of homophobic comments. A new incitement to homophobic hatred law would give them many more openings to do so’.

I concluded: ‘Under an incitement to homophobic hatred law introduced by a Labour government in, say, 2026, the police would get what too many of their officers seem to wish for . . . Christians saying in the public square what Pastor Sherwood said in 2021 would go to jail.’ 

It could well be that a Labour government with a thumping majority would try to restrict the ability of elected MPs to criticise neo-Marxist dogma under a new parliamentary speech code. Braverman’s forensic skills would prove vital in opposing that move to restrict freedom of speech, which in this country derives from the ability of the press, established by the 1689 English Bill of Rights, to report what parliamentarians say.

One could well understand Braverman and Frost refusing to take the costly course of public service under these circumstances. She could make a lot more money as a lawyer and Frost, former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, would understandably find the prospect of visiting distilleries around the world more alluring than trench warfare at CCHQ.

But as British patriots they would no doubt be conscious that such sacrifices would be tiny compared with those made by the heroes of D-Day for the liberation of Western Europe from totalitarianism.

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Julian Mann
Julian Mann
Julian Mann is a former Church of England vicar, now an evangelical journalist based in Heysham, Lancashire.

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