MP axed after siding with anti-LGBT inclusive education protesters in Birmingham
MP Roger Godsiff has been axed as the Labour candidate for the Birmingham Hall Green constituency after supporting protests against LGBT+ inclusive lessons in primary schools.
Godsiff is 73 years old and had been a MP in Birmingham for 27 years, but on Wednesday November 6 Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) said that it agreed with activists that his position had become “untenable” since he sided with the anti-LGBT protests outside Anderton Park primary school.
According to BirninghamLive, in a previous letter to local Labour party members Godsiff wrote: “I have spoken out in support of Muslim parents who were protesting about the way their young children were being encouraged to examine their sexuality without any parental involvement.
“No other politician has been prepared to publicly support the Muslim parents.”
The Hall Green MP was also filmed telling demonstrators who opposed inclusive teaching at Anderton Park Primary that they “had a just cause” and were “right.”
On the LGBT+ inclusive children’s books used in the No Outsiders programme, he told the Birmingham Mail : “Having looked at what has been presented to me and hearing what the headteacher said, I was concerned about some of the things that came out [of those discussions].
“I have seen the cover of some of the books… I understand why parents have concerns.”
He added: “I have concerns about the age appropriateness of children of four and five being introduced to these ideas.”
I take no pleasure in Roger Godsiff being barred but his ill-informed contribution in Relationship Education dispute did a great deal to undermine work of schools & rightly enraged Equality advocates
Hard won freedoms need protecting & he didn’t do thathttps://t.co/dEDU8xyrHw
— nazir afzal (@nazirafzal) November 6, 2019
Human rights lawyer Nazir Afzal wrote on Twitter: “I take no pleasure in Roger Godsiff being barred but his ill-informed contribution in Relationship Education dispute did a great deal to undermine work of schools and rightly enraged Equality advocates.
“Hard won freedoms need protecting and he didn’t do that.”
LGBT+ Labour West Midlands also wrote on Twitter: “We welcome the NEC decision to remove Roger Godsiff as the Labour candidate for Hall Green.
“We have seen him side with homophobic and transphobic protests against LGBT+ inclusive education in our schools.
“We now call for the party to select an unequivocal ally.”
We welcome the NEC decision to remove @RogerGodsiff as the Labour candidate for Hall Green.
We have seen him side with homophobic and transphobic protests against LGBT+ inclusive education in our schools.
We now call for the party to select an unequivocal ally @LGBTLabour ?
— LGBT+ Labour West Midlands (@LGBTLabourWM) November 6, 2019
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According to BirminghamLive, the Labour Party has said that other candidates for the position have until Thursday November 7 at 2 pm to apply and the NEC will announce their choice by the weekend.
Godsiff is still free to independently stand for election, despite not being the Labour candidate. BirminghamLive reported that five candidates had applied as potential alternative candidates for Labour.
Najib Afsar, father of protest organisers Shakeel and Rosina Afsar, said that the NEC’s decision was a “travesty” and added: “I am sure if Roger Godsiff chose to stand now as an independent candidate he would have a lot of support and would have a big impact on Labour.
“Nobody – neither the protesters or Roger Godsiff – were ever against a particular community. It was a question of age appropriateness, that is all.”