London, England, Nov 22, 2019 / 13:00 pm
A former member of parliament has spoken out after being deselected as a candidate for the U.K.'s Liberal Democrat Party because of his Catholic faith and views on same-sex marriage and abortion.
Robert Flello sat as a Labour Party MP in the House of Commons for over a decade, representing Stoke-on-Trent from 2005 until 2017. In 2019, he switched parties to the Liberal Democrats and was selected as their candidate for his former constituency. Flello, a practicing Catholic, was informed on Nov. 12--just 36 hours after his selection as a candidate--that he had been de-selected and would not be permitted to represent the Lib Dems in the election.
Flello is now calling for the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom to "start speaking out" and defend its social teaching, and for Catholics in the U.K. to question their local candidates about their thoughts on religious freedom.
"However they try to dress it up, the simple fact is that you can't be a practicing Catholic and a Lib Dem Candidate," wrote Flello in an op-ed published on Nov. 20 in the Catholic Herald magazine. He said that "someone, somewhere" objected to him within the party and officials "got worried and pulled the plug."