17 December 2017

Grace & Truth


Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, annoyed MPs by using the Queen’s diamond jubilee to ‘lecture’ her on gay rights.

The Queen was in Westminster Hall at an event in celebration of her 60-year reign. In an introduction speech Mr Bercow called Her Majesty our “Kaleidoscope Queen” and gave a thinly-veiled plug for homosexual marriage.

Mr Bercow is the president of gay rights group, Kaleidoscope Trust. Following his speech the group issued a press statement welcoming the choice of words. The group said: “we congratulate the Speaker on his words”.

Parliamentarians were angered by the Speaker’s antics. One senior MP said: “as usual with Bercow it was all about him and his own political obsessions. It was completely ill-judged and rather embarrassing”. Another MP said: “the speaker is entitled to his views on gay rights but he is not entitled to lecture the Queen on the issue when he is addressing her on our behalf at an event to mark her jubilee”.


Dozens of abortion clinics in the UK could be reported to the police for allegedly breaking the law following surprise inspections ordered by Health Secretar y Andrew Lansley. Mr Lansley is “shocked” and “appalled” at the findings, which include evidence that doctors falsified abortion consent forms.

Under the law in the UK, two doctors must sign a referral form before a woman can go ahead with an abortion. But inspectors discovered that doctors are pre-signing the forms without meeting the women concerned or reviewing their medical notes.

Ann Furedi, head of abortion provider BPAS, criticised the Government’s decision to inspect the clinics without warning. She said: “what I do think is absolutely wrong is the way that the Secretary of State has instructed the Care Quality Commission this week to effectively abandon all of its other work that they are dealing with”. On BBC Radio Four the BPAS chief executive also claimed pre-signing abortion consent forms was “a grey area”.

However the Health Secretary was critical of the clinics, saying, “if it happens, it is pretty much people engaging in a culture of both ignoring the law and trying to give themselves the right to say that although Parliament may have said this, we believe in abortion on demand”.


A UK Government paper has revealed that plans to redefine marriage would result in the terms “husband” and “wife” being removed from official forms. Important paperwork, including tax documents, would be rewritten to avoid assuming that a married couple means a man and a woman. The Home Office’s ‘impact analysis’ of plans to introduce homosexual marriage, also disclosed that such changes would cost millions of pounds.

Last month the Government launched its consultation on redefining marriage. The Home Office document read: “changing legislation to allow same-sex couples to enter into a marriage will create some costs for certain government departments and agencies and for local government because changes will need to be made to some IT systems and processes to remove references to marriage being between a man and a woman”.

It described similar changes to Border Agency forms as minor: “the UK Border Agency (UKBA), also part of the Home Office, will require minor changes to application forms and staff guidance to highlight the changes to the law and replacing references to husband and wife with the more neutral term spouses and partners”.

The Labour Peer Lord Brennan QC recently warned that terms such as “father” and “mother” have been replaced with “Progenitor A” and “Progenitor B” in countries like Spain where homosexual marriage has been legalised.

Meanwhile a petition supporting the current definition of marriage has surged passed 300,000 signatures in just over four weeks. The petition is being run by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), a grassroots campaign group. Sign it here: www.c4m.org.uk


A paralysed man has won the right to challenge the law against euthanasia in England. Tony Nicklinson wants doctors to be allowed to kill him, and the High Court gave permission for his legal case to be heard.

But critics say it may put other vulnerable people at risk, and the Government has previously said there are “compelling reasons” for the courts not to get involved. Mr Nicklinson has locked-in syndrome, which means his mind is active but he cannot move his body.

Reacting to the judge’s decision, Baroness Finlay, a professor of palliative medicine at Cardiff University School of Medicine said: “the difficulty is you set a precedent. If you change the law because one person wants something, who do you remove that protection from and put at risk? We have laws to protect the whole of the population”.

Dr Peter Saunders, from the Care Not Killing Alliance, cautioned that “hard cases make bad law”. Dr Saunders added that cases such as Mr Nicklinson’s are “extremely rare”, and that: “the overwhelming majority of people with severe disability, even with locked-in syndrome, do not wish to die but rather want support to live”.

In its leader article The Daily Telegraph noted: “this is not a ‘right-to-die’ case but one involving the ‘right to be killed’. Changing the law relating to murder without the authority of Parliament is inconceivable”.