that I opposed – and continue to oppose – the concept of same-sex “marriage”. It is also for this reason that I support the recognition of the family unit within the tax system.
I came into politics because I believe that it is the privilege of the strong to support the weak (children, the disabled, the elderly in particular) both at home and abroad and I hold to that principle.
Education and Faith Schools
Kent is fortunate to have a wide range and choice of education and I wish to see that maintained. Faith schools, in particular, make a very significant contribution to education and offer not only secular but spiritual and pastoral guidance that is essential in today`s world.
The Voluntary Sector
I have consistently not only supported the work of the voluntary sector but actively participate in it. I have served as the Chairman of an International charity (SPANA) working in developing countries to enhance the lives and livelihoods of some of the poorest people in the world and I also hold honorary but active office with a number of local voluntary organisations.
It is in the national interest that employees should be paid properly and that employers should pay a fair day`s salary for a fair day`s work. The political objective that I support is to see all of those who are able to do so to be able to support themselves and their families without the need to resort to State assistance while ensuring that benefits for those who really do need them are more than adequate. A strong economy is dependent upon a strong and well-remunerated tax-paying workforce.
Asylum and Immigration
The United Kingdom has a long and proud record of offering asylum to those fleeing from persecution and oppression (The Ugandan Asian community springs to mind) and we must continue to do so,
The issue has, however, been clouded and the cause of genuine asylum seekers damaged, by economic migration. Britain is a relatively small country geographically with finite resources. We simply cannot accommodate all-comers from all countries all of the time. Our resources and infrastructure are not able to cope with such a circumstance. In recent years (since 1997) the situation has been allowed to spiral out of control to the detriment of harmony and integration. A sense of order, which will be achieved by fair but also firm immigration controls, has to be introduced.
In the sad international circumstances that we face there are also security implications that, in the interests of national security, do have to be addressed and an “open-border” policy is both unsustainable and dangerous.
The freedom to hold and to observe a faith has probably never been under greater threat than it is today. Over centuries heinous atrocities have, of course, been committed in the name of many faiths – including our own – but modern tolerance and a respect for the tenets of others is in danger of being replaced with extremism and a desire to impose will. Many Christian churches have been destroyed and many good people have been murdered because of the beliefs that they represent and hold.
The UK has, of course, to respect the rights to self-determination of sovereign states but neither we nor the EU nor the United States can sit idly by and watch as war crimes are committed and people are persecuted because of the God that they choose to believe in.
The UK is one of the four wealthiest and strongest economies in the world. We of course have ongoing economic problems of our own but if we cannot afford 0.7% of GDP to help some of the poorest people in the World then as a nation we ought to be ashamed.
That said, it is of course important that aid is not squandered, given to countries that no longer need it or is usurped by greedy politicians in developing countries. The present administration has accordingly embarked upon a programme of reappraisal to ensure that assistance is given to those that really need it and is ploughed into healthcare and education and fresh water sources and other projects that will help to lift countries out of poverty and enable them to be sustainable in their own right.
Abortion and Euthanasia
First, I endorse absolutely the principle of the protection of ` the vulnerable child inside the womb`, have voted accordingly and will continue to do so. I am also opposed to – and have voted against – assisted suicide and euthanasia.
The Family and Marriage
I believe that the family is and should remain the cornerstone of society. While the State can help to create the environment in which a family may flourish it is the family itself that is best placed to address many of the social and moral issues facing the Country.
It is for this reason, and because I believe that marriage (as very distinct from a Civil Union) is a joining together of a man and a woman made in faith