Charitable Registration — [Jim Dobbin in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:24 pm on 13th November 2012.

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Photo of Stewart Jackson Stewart Jackson Conservative, Peterborough 3:24 pm, 13th November 2012

It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend Robert Halfon, who made a typically robust and passionate defence, and I congratulate my hon. Friend Fiona Bruce.

As has been said, the debate is about more than just an arcane analysis of section 17 of the Charities Act 2006. This is about a battle, about the secularisation of society and about calling a spade a shovel, which is quango activism. The Charity Commission has previous on that, in its class-based and politicised campaign to attack independent schools. The crucial question that we must ask is whether the present situation is what Parliament intended in 2006. Did it intend to undermine, attack and traduce the very salt of the earth, who reach out inclusively to help some of the most marginalised groups in society and get them to change their lives? I would never have voted for a Bill that I thought would do that. At the least, we are right to draw attention to the significant concerns expressed by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, that what is happening is the beginning of a process of pushing Christians out of the public square and delegitimising Christian religion in the name of bureaucracy and process. I cannot be part of that.