MP tables parliamentary motion congratulating Charity Commission for denying Plymouth Brethren charitable status

Paul Flynn's motion says the religious group's doctrine of separation has 'divided families' and excludes members from society

Paul Flynn MP
Paul Flynn MP

Paul Flynn, the Labour MP for Newport West and a member of the Public Administration Select Committee, has tabled a parliamentary motion supporting the Charity Commission’s refusal to grant charitable status to a Devon-based Plymouth Brethren group.

The Preston Down Trust is appealing to the charity tribunal over the regulator’s decision not to give it charitable status. The commission’s refusal has been criticised by some MPs who have accused the regulator of an anti-religion bias.

More than 50 MPs wrote to The Daily Telegraph newspaper this week calling on the commission to review its "unjust decision" and stop the tribunal case.

But Flynn’s early day motion "congratulates the Charity Commission for denying charitable status to the Exclusive Brethren sect".

It says it notes the organisation's doctrine of separation which has "divided families and excludes Brethren from society to the extent that members refuse to live in semi-detached houses for fear of contamination from non-Brethren".

It also says signatories are "appalled by the definition of their faith expressed by their leader, Bruce Hales, that the whole principles of the world have to be scorned, disdained and hated and that members of the sect have to develop an utter hatred of every feature of the world to avoid being sucked in and seduced by it".

Flynn has backed the refusal of the application for charitable status of the Preston Down Trustus during recent PASC hearings in its inquiry into the implementation of the Charities Act 2006.

He also published an article on his website  by a former Brethren member who sets out why he thinks the Plymouth Brethren does not meet the public benefit requirement.

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