A candidate for the Liberal Democrats has been deselected by the party reportedly for expressing socially conservative views.
Rob Flello, the former Stoke-on-Trent South MP – who previously held the seat for 12 years for Labour – was removed just hours after announcing his candidacy.
Mr Flello said he was “deeply shocked and very disappointed”.
Freedom of conscience
Announcing the deselection, a Liberal Democrats spokesman claimed “it only really became clear over the past few hours how greatly his values diverge from ours”.
It is understood that this relates to his voting record on same-sex marriage and abortion.
Mr Flello responded by saying that he felt “utterly misled” by the party “who claim in their constitution to acknowledge and respect the right to freedom of conscience”.
He added: “I am profoundly concerned that people of faith who adhere to their religious beliefs are not welcome in their Party.”
In 2017, Tim Farron stood down as leader of the Liberal Democrats saying he found it “impossible” to hold to the Bible’s teaching and remain as party leader.
In an interview with Premier Christian Radio, he criticised current society which is “tolerant of everything, apart from the things that we don’t like”.
However, he said Christians should not be afraid of speaking about their faith, noting that the message of the Bible – sin, grace, forgiveness and obedience – is “utterly radical”.
Mr Farron continued as an MP and is the Lib Dem candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale.
In 2017, a ComRes poll showed a clear majority of people support the right of politicians with traditional views to express them.
In the survey, 64 per cent of Britons agreed with the statement: “If a politician believes that gay sex is a sin they should be free to express it”. Only 32 per cent disagreed.