A politician who claimed a far-right Christian charity had no influence over his policy chaired the launch of its sex education council in Parliament last year.
Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes said last week that “at no time” had the Christian group CARE – which pays £5,500 a year for an intern in his office – had any lobbying power or influence, and that his only involvement with it was the intern programme.
But an Enfield Independent investigation has discovered that Mr Burrowes chaired the launch of its Sex and Relationships Education Council – which says it aims to increase parental involvement in sex education – in Westminster last May.
The charity even published a press release on its website that included a quote from the MP.
The umbrella group’s founding members include CARE’s educational arm Evaluate, virginity pledge group Silver Ring Thing, anti-abortion group Right to Life and Lovewise – which promotes no sex before marriage.
Mr Burrowes has faced a call to resign from his position as Parliamentary Private Secretary, criticism from Enfield gay rights groups and pressure from within his own constituency party after he helped launch the Coalition for Marriage in Parliament last week – which opposes the Government’s plan to legalise same-sex marriage – and his links to CARE were revealed.
CARE’s chief executive Nola Leach is one of the directors of the company behind Mr Burrowes’ Coalition for Marriage campaign. It also denies it is a lobby group.
CARE sponsored a £50-a-ticket ‘gay cure’ conference in central London in 2009, which included talks on “mentoring the sexually broken” from speakers including Jospeh Nicolosi, president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and author of books on how to clinically “treat” being gay.
And the pressure on the MP to cut ties with the group increased after Tottenham MP David Lammy – who also had an intern paid for by CARE – said he would completely disassociate himself from the group after being told of their views.
The MP, who said he had received a death threat since publicly declaring his views, has voted strongly against furthering gay rights since being elected in 2005.
Gay rights charity Stonewall gave him a seven per cent score in a study of pro-equal rights MPs at the last General Election.
Last week he told the Enfield Independent: “My involvement with CARE is simply that it provides candidates of good quality to learn about being in public life – these people have provided an excellent service.”