Firstly I’d like to thank BULS for electing me to the post of director of social media. Otherwise I would never have joined Twitter and therefore never have been made aware of who Philippa Stroud is and what she stands for. 36 hours after the story broke on the front page of the Observer all other major papers (apart from the Telegraph which played it down) and even the BBC have maintained a deafening silence on the issue. Ken Livingstone raised the issue on the Daily Politics show and was hushed up by the presenters.
But it’s been trending #1 on Uk twitter for 24 hours, the facebook event “Lets help Philippa Stroud get better” has 62 members and the facebook group “If Cameron cares an ounce about LGBT people, he’ll sack Philippa Stroud” has 1,544 members and counting.
This is big news, and it’s simply not being reported by the Murdoch press. The silence of the BBC, to whom, according to Stonewall UK the LGBT community contribute £190 million annually in license fees on this issue is shameful.
So what has Philippa Stroud done?
Having stood as a Conservative PPC in Ladywood Birmingham in 2005 she is now standing for Sutton and Cheam in South London. In 1989 she founded the King’s Arms Project – a Christian night shelter offering counselling to drug addicts, alcoholics, and LGBT people. She believed homosexuality was caused by demons, and could be cured by prayer and exorcism.
There has been no statement of apology or explanation from the Conservative party or David Cameron, Philippa Stroud herself having issued a statement which leaves lots of questions unanswered: ”I make no apology for being a committed Christian. However, it is categorically untrue that I believe homosexuality to be an illness and I am deeply offended that The Observer has suggested otherwise. I have spent 20 years working with disturbed people who society have turned their back on and are not often supported by state agencies; drug addicts, alcoholics, the mentally ill and the homeless that I and my charitable friends in the public sector have tried to help over the years. The idea that I am prejudiced against gay people is both false and insulting.“
She refused to comment on whether she believes LGBT people can be cured by the power of prayer, and whether she includes them under her definition of “disturbed people” or the “mentally ill”. She may not be prejudiced against the LGBT community in that she would treat them the same as anyone else suffering from demon possession, but is clearly not pro-liberation.
As a member of the New Frontiers Church of which her husband is a minister she has also pledged to: “be subservient to the wishes of my husband in all things” and submit to “male servant leadership and joyful female submission” – a remarkable attitude for a prospective female MP. I wonder what her views on abortion, same-sex civil partnerships and LGBT adoption are? And when it became OK for the state and religion to cross over in this manner?
For a full briefing of the recent LGBT gaffes committed by the Tories see http://issacgreaves.eu/attackoftheclones/
The public have a right to demand proper coverage, proper investigation and a proper apology or some heads on plates. Instead we have 768 google hits for Gillian Duffy , and only 9 for Philippa Stroud.
My only comfort is that she probably won’t get elected because the constituency in which she’s standing has a strong and popular Lib Dem MP Paul Burstow who is standing for re-election.