There were some shocking moments yesterday at the Farnborough 6th Form College Hustings.
Firstly the display of homophobia by the Tory and Ukip candidates. The Ukipper was almost a caricature from the cold war, but many people don't expect much better from them. He claimed to be aloof from expenses troubles, but is ignoring the Ukip MEPs that had to step down, Ashley Mote and Tom Wise, for benefit fraud and money laundering.
The Lab PPC managed to mention climate change and praise cheap flights in the same sentence! But the prize goes to ....
The shock was what the Tory MP Gerald Howarth said. I know Cameron was caught out on camera confused about free votes on Gay rights, but that was a minor slip. No one thinks Cameron is homophobic. But if his shadow defence minister is homophobiic, what message does that send out?
The LibDem PPC was shocked at Howarths expenses claims, but I wasnt surprised. We pay for him to have a second home, fully furnished, with luxuries like sky sports, despite living an hours commute from London. I am not surprised because the Tory Chair Eric Pickles said much the same on BBC question time last year. Though Pickles did later apologise, he lives 37 miles from London. Farnborough is a similar distance.
Conservative Party chairman Eric Pickles said unreliable transport and long hours at Parliament justified his claiming expenses for a second home even though his constituency was in the Home Counties. He later said of his performance: "It was like a car crash in slow motion, and which you're just trying to steer away [from], and the more I tried to steer away, the worse it was."
Gerald Howarth does not appologise, he wants us to keep paying for his lifestyle. Mr Howarth said he could be earning more money than his £64,766 MP’s salary if he were in his previous job as a city banker. Perhaps that was true in the past, but its not relevant. So thanks taxpayers for £100,000.
This speech in Parliament, he said "This is a Christian country and that we owe everything to our Christian tradition. This nation has been forged and fashioned down the centuries by its Christian tradition. Every Act of Parliament is prefaced by reference to the support of the Lords temporal and spiritual and the Commons assembled. That indicates that our Christian faith has played a hugely important part. Therefore, while I have enjoyed the frivolities of this evening’s proceedings, we should be under no illusions that a serious issue is at stake. I am afraid that I am not interested in the Joint Committee on Human Rights or the European Court of Human Rights; I am interested in my views and beliefs, which are profoundly held and shared by a lot of people in this country."
This is on Conservative Home Gerald Howarth MP: "The Minister may know that the former Home Secretary’s decision to refuse citizenship to Mr. Mohamed Fayed was dispatched in a matter of weeks. Given the great distress and burden on the public purse caused by Fayed’s absurd allegations, will the Home Secretary take swift action to remove for good as an undesirable alien that thief, crook and liar?"
On 2 August 2005 Howarth said of British Muslims: "If they don't like our way of life, there is a simple remedy: go to another country, get out". When asked what if these people were born in Britain, Howarth responded: "Tough. If you don't give allegiance to this country, then leave. There are plenty of other countries whose way of life would appear to be more conducive to what they aspire to. They would be happy and we would be happy". So no one is allowed to want to change this country?
In 2004 Gerald Howarth, a Tory shadow minister for defence, gave a House Of Commons pass to Michael Wood, an arms lobbyist. His clients, who include BAE, Airbus and MBDA, are together responsible for UK defence contracts worth billions of pounds. The arrangement, which allows Mr Wood to enter the House of Commons at will, runs counter to the voluntary code of conduct that regulates political consultants. It will also fuel fears that the current pass regime is too lax in the wake of repeated breaches of Westminster security. Mr Howarth lists Mr Wood as a member of his staff on the official register. Callers to the MP's Commons office, however, are directed to the offices of Whitehall Advisers. The Association of Professional Political Consultants forbids lobbyists from holding Commons passes. Martin Bell, the anti-corruption campaigner, called for the rules to expressly forbid lobbyists from holding passes. "I think there is a strong case for the rules to be tightened."
He was caught out on a spoof show, brass eye, a few years ago. “How brazen and shameless is the modern paedophile?”. It satirised the way the media covers the issue which we believe is encouraging a dangerous atmosphere. Gerald said: "I haven't seen the programme because I was doing something useful at the Royal International Air Tattoo."
Gerald Howarth, Conservative MP for Aldershot said in November 2007 on the coroners and justice bill; “It describes homophobia and transphobia as terms used to describe a dislike of LGBT people or aspects of their perceived lifestyle. In other words, homophobia and transphobia are not restricted to a dislike of individuals; the dislike can be based on any sexual act or characteristic that the person associates with an LGBT person, whether or not any specific LGBT person does that act or has that characteristic. That dislike does not have to be as severe as hatred. It is enough that people do something or abstain from doing something because they do not like LGBT people.” ”Surely that is hugely wide-ranging. Parliament has no say in this matter, and we could be faced with a situation where such an interpretation means that anyone who expresses a dislike of this kind of behaviour would be caught by the CPS under its interpretation of the law.”
Defence spokesman Gerald Howarth said on Gay adoption: "We now undoubtedly face a challenge from the UK Independence Party and to a lesser extent from the British National Party. We therefore need to measure what is the effect of the message we are sending. This will cause concern among a lot of traditional Conservatives up and down the country. This is an incredible assault on freedom of conscience." Mr Howarth said he expected to raise his concerns with Mr Cameron. "This is a motif for his leadership. Our core supporters in the country don't like it and they are saying they will vote for UKIP. It's wrong, it's offensive. it's political correctness, and it's social engineering. "Tony Blair has given us 20 months to adapt 2,000 years of Christian teaching. It's unacceptable."
On Gays in the military, he told the House: “This appalling decision will be greeted with dismay, particularly by ordinary soldiers in Her Majesty’s Forces, many of whom joined the Services precisely because they wished to turn their back on some of the values of modern society.” Veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said “While there are still some pockets of homophobia, overall the Armed Forces has made an astonishingly successful transition from being one of the most homophobic institutions in Britain to being one of the most gay-friendly, all in space of a decade. It’s extraordinary."
Speech in the HoC on setting the age of consent for male homosexuals at 16 in 1999.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: Although the Home Secretary's proposals to deal with abuse of trust are welcome—indeed, 1 supported the amendment that was tabled by the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton)—does he not understand that the message that he and those who will vote for the measure today are sending to the country is totally at variance with the message that the Government wish to give about the importance of the family?
Does the Home Secretary not understand that he simply cannot have it both ways? I know that the Government are keen to do that, but it is clear that the message that will go out from the House tonight if it votes for the 29 measure—it is opposed by 70 per cent. of the population, so the House will be out of kilter with the public—is at variance with the Government's proclaimed support for the family, which the measure seeks to undermine.
Gerald Howarth (Shadow Minister, Defence; Aldershot, Conservative)HoC debate 2005 Equality:
I am extremely grateful to the Minister for giving way. I have to say that, as a white, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Scot, middle-class male heterosexual, I feel that we are increasingly becoming the persecuted who might be in need of protection. The Bill is nothing if not the ultimate manifesto in political correctness. She said that it will apply to public authorities. Can she explain why, for some obscure reason, this place, the other place, the Security Service and the authorities of both Houses are exempt from all this absurdity? Does that not undermine the whole case for this absurd and ridiculous Bill, which should be consigned to the dustbin now?
To quote David Cameron, its time for change. Change this MP for a better one.
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