Archbishop “off target” with criticisms - 9th June 2011
 
North Thanet`s MP, Roger Gale, has this (Thursday 9th June) described as “off target and offensive” criticisms levelled against the coalition government by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
 
“Dr Williams is a member of parliament” says Gale “and he has a right as such and as the Archbishop of Canterbury and as an individual to speak his mind. But for him, as an unelected member of the Upper House and as an appointed and unelected Primate to criticise the Coalition government as undemocratic and not elected to carry through its programme is unacceptable.  Dr Williams clearly does not understand the democratic process. If he did, he would appreciate that elected Members of the House of Commons are not mandated. We are sent to Westminster by our constituents to face and address the situation as we find it, to use our brains and to endeavour to act and to legislate in the best interests of those that we represent.  Each of the measures that Dr Williams has criticised in his magazine article has been considered and ratified – or is in the process of being amended and ratified – by a majority in the House of Commons. That is how our parliamentary process works.”
 
Gale also spoke out against Dr Williams` specific comments in relation to the Big Society. “The Prime Minister`s Big Society vision is – and I speak as a Member of the Church of England myself – a not- exclusively but thoroughly Christian concept.  It is about community respecting itself, it is about volunteers helping those in need, it is about neighbour caring for neighbour and it is about the strong supporting the weak. I would have expected that the leading cleric of my church would wish to get behind and encourage such an endeavour and for Dr. Williams to dismiss this as “stale” and to present it as a cost-cutting exercise is, frankly, offensive.
 
I appreciate that Dr. Williams has found himself agonising over aspects of his faith and the directions in which the Church over which he presides may be pulling him but after 28 years – today – in the House of Commons I retain my own faith in the democratic process and in the fundamental desire of Members of all parties to seek to do what is right by constituents and Country”

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