The so-called “House of Commons hooligan” Jonathan Gullis, Tory MP for Stoke-on-Trent North since 2019, has made another of his famously misguided attacks – this time at bishops in the House of Lords.
His outburst came after all the Anglican bishops in the Upper House said the Tory government’s Rwanda deportation policy, which was endorsed as “lawful” by the High Court earlier this week, should “shame us as a nation”.
They signed a letter saying, “The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum-seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries.”
In fairness, even the Home Office seems to have accepted that many of those who arrive in the UK by illegal routes still have a claim for asylum; the majority of them are accepted as genuine refugees and are permitted to remain in the UK.
The problem lies in the fact that they have to take illegal routes – making them prey for the Tory government’s deportation policy – because there are no legal routes; the Tories have closed them all off in order to be able to pursue this inhumane mistreatment of people who are already victims.
Gullis’s response may be found here:
So: first he flung some whataboutery into the ether, claiming that the Church should be dealing with abuse claims against its own clergy. How does he know that it isn’t? And isn’t that more a problem for the Catholic clergy?
Then he said: “Too many people are using the pulpit to preach from.” Does he not know that preaching is exactly what the pulpit is for?
This man used to be a teacher but gave up when he was elected into Parliament. He said pupils at the school where he had been working were “probably happy to see me go” – perhaps because they were already better-educated than he was?
He also said the bishops were unelected. Correct – but everybody has an understanding of what constitutes fairness and justice, and nobody needs to be elected to put forward their opinion of what that is.
Furthermore, these are people who sit as experts on law and political matters in the Upper House of Parliament, and their words have weight whether Gullis likes it or not.
Instead of spouting ignorant nonsense, he should learn respect – not just for the bishops who have far more experience and understanding than he does, but also for the people his policies are victimising.
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