Express 5 November 2014
I HAVE withdrawn all support for the Red Cross, an organisation which I have backed in various ways throughout my life.
Indeed I addressed a fundraising event in Exeter just a few months ago. I put up with it when it denied me, as Shadow Home Secretary, entry to Sangatte and I eventually swallowed my ire when it banned nativity displays from its shops but enough is enough.
This supposedly neutral organisation has sacked a man who has worked for 20 years as a volunteer just because he opposes gay marriage. Bryan Barkley stood outside Wakefi eld Cathedral with a banner saying “No redefi nition of marriage”. He did not mention the Red Cross nor did its name appear in any reports of the protest.
One can conclude only that this charity polices private views in much the same way that Trafford Housing did in the infamous Adrian Smith case (sacked by the Trust for opposing gay marriage).
Let us be clear: the issue here is not whether one supports gay marriage or not but whether one should be free to state a position.