Catholic deselected as UK election candidate

The Liberal Democrat (Lib Dem) Party, UK, deselected Robert Flello, a practising Catholic as an election candidate.

Just 36 hours beforehand Flello was announced as the Lib Dem candidate for the Stoke-on-Trent South constituency.

The Party concluded his values diverged for theirs.

The British media report that Flello’s views on abortion and same-sex marriage are the cause of his deselection.

“We do our best to screen candidates in our approval process,” a Party spokesman said.

“In this case, it only really became clear over the past few hours how greatly his values diverge from ours.”

In 2005 Flello won the seat for Labour in 2005 but lost it in the 2017 election to the Conservatives.

Profoundly disillusioned with Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, Fello joined the Lib Dems earlier in 2019.

During his political career, Flello had been once considered among Labour’s most promising MPs, serving as private secretary to three Ministers.

However, Flello was consigned to the backbenches after his defence of human life and conversion to the Catholic faith.

“I could no more leave my faith at the door of the House than I could my name, my gender or my arms and legs”, he is reported to have said during a debate on the defence of human life.

Flello was a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group that consistently voted against abortion, and in 2012 was one of 22 Labour MP’s to oppose David Cameron’s redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples.

At one point he also asked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to resign.

Fello is accusing the Lib Dem’s of religious discrimination and a lack of tolerance.

He said he was “deeply shocked and very disappointed” by his deselection, adding: “I feel utterly misled by the Lib Dem Party who claim in their constitution to acknowledge and respect the right to freedom of conscience.”

“Not only do I feel betrayed by the false promises of the Lib Dems but I am profoundly concerned that people of faith who adhere to their religious beliefs are not welcome in their party.”

Later, Lib Dem deputy, Sir Ed Davey insisted a judgement will have been made about values rather than religion.

“The party has many Catholics in it ranks and would continue to do so”, he said to Shelagh Fogarty or LBC radio.

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