Senior Tories Back Return of Councillor Suspended Over ‘Pride Is a Sin’ Post

Councillor King Lawal, who protested outside the Tory party conference this week, said MPs have voiced support for his suspension to be lifted.
Senior Tories Back Return of Councillor Suspended Over ‘Pride Is a Sin’ Post
Suspended Tory councillor King Lawal (C) with supporters protesting outside the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on Oct. 4, 2023. (Courtesy of Christian Concern)
Patricia Devlin
10/5/2023
Updated:
10/5/2023
A Conservative Christian councillor suspended from the party for writing on social media that pride is a sin, said he has received the backing of senior Tories to return.

North Northamptonshire Councillor King Lawal—who staged a protest outside the Conservative Party Conference this week—told The Epoch Times he is hopeful his suspension over posting about his religious beliefs will now be lifted.

However, he said whatever decision the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) comes to will leave the party in the difficult position of either marginalising Christian supporters or those in the LGBT community.

Mr. Lawal was suspended by CCHQ Chair Greg Hands after writing on X, formerly known as Twitter: “When did Pride become a thing to celebrate. Because of Pride Satan fell as an arch Angel. Pride is not a virtue but a Sin. Those who have Pride should Repent of their sins and return to Jesus Christ. He can save you. #PrideMonth #Pride23 #PrideParade.”

The June 29 post included an image with a verse from the Bible and the words, “Whatever God calls ‘Sin’ is nothing to be Proud of.”

Within hours of making the post, he was suspended from Northamptonshire Unitary Council and then dismissed as a trustee of Groundwork Northampton, an initiative that helps disadvantaged children access green spaces.

He was told that the membership governance team at CCHQ was advising the council to suspend him and wanted the investigation to be centralised rather than local. He was told that a standards inquiry would also follow.

Petition

Since his suspension three months ago, 27,000 people have signed a petition for him to be reinstated.

On Wednesday, the Tory councillor held a protest outside his party’s conference in Manchester to gain support from other members.

He told The Epoch Times: “I used the opportunity to try and ramp up support and to hopefully put some pressure on CCHQ and Greg Hands, the chairman, who have the power to lift the suspension.

“So I spoke to MPs like Danny Kruger—he is very, very supportive being a Christian MP.

“Miriam Cates showed a lot of support, Sir John Hayes showed a lot of support as well, and Nick Fletcher who is hopefully going to be looking at my whole case and going directly to Greg and putting pressure on him to lift my suspension.”

Mr. Lawal said he hopes to return to the party, but said his suspension will raise difficult issues for the Tories whether he is reinstated or not.

“If they expel me from the party now openly, they risk losing Christian support, because what I said was biblically, Christian beliefs—this is biblical doctrine,” he said.

“But also if they openly accept me back in without the ramifications I’m sure they maybe expect, they also now take issue with the LGBTQ community.

“So I think they’re in a difficult position, but that does not mean in any way that they should just sit on this for months on end. What they’ve done with other counsellors within the Conservative Party within my area [is] they’ve just sat on on their investigations for 13 months and then slowly introduced them again.”

King Lawal in an undated file photo. (Courtesy of Christian Concern)
King Lawal in an undated file photo. (Courtesy of Christian Concern)

Hate Crime

Mr. Lawal said he made the post in response to content on GB News that reported naked men illegally parading through the streets in front of children during LGBT Pride events.

Disturbed by the claims, he said he felt compelled to speak out and posted his views on X.

In a statement following backlash over the post, he said: “When I referred to Pride as a sin in my previous post, it may have been misinterpreted as hateful. Let me explain why it is not.

“When Christians refer to ‘sin’ or ‘sinners’ we are speaking of ourselves. We are not singling out specific people or groups of people as sinners. Sin according to the bible includes, lying, stealing, gossip and hatred, not just things like homosexuality, adultery and sex outside of the marriage. Jesus said that even to have unholy thoughts that we never act on is sinful. Therefore every single one of us is sinful by this standard, including myself.”

He added that when Christians say “repent” or refer to something associated with as “sin,” it’s “not because they hate you. it is because they love you and want to see you saved from punishment the same way they have been saved.”

“I therefore do not come against those celebrating Pride to attack who they are, my intention was to say that I would not celebrate this any more than I would celebrate a month of gossip or anything else the bible calls sin,” he wrote.

On top of being removed from a number of local positions and his suspension from the party, he was also threatened with a potential police investigation for alleged hate crimes.

In July, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Mr. Lawal announced that he had instructed lawyers to prepare legal action alleging multiple violations of his rights to freedom of speech and religion.

The Christian Legal Centre said the councillor’s case raises “alarming questions” about the preservation of freedom of speech and religious expression for public officials and wider society. In particular, the centre said, it raises questions about “whether Christians who believe traditional conservative teaching about marriage and sexual ethics are welcome in the Conservative Party.”

Greg Hands on March 19, 2022. (Michal Wachucik/PA Media)
Greg Hands on March 19, 2022. (Michal Wachucik/PA Media)

Christian Freedoms

In a statement released on Thursday, Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “What has happened to Cllr Lawal has been brutal and is a clear case of viewpoint discrimination against a standard expression of Christian belief.

“The Conservative Party has been captured to such an extent by this ideology that if you speak against it, within a week you face disciplinary sanctions.

“The pace at which Cllr Lawal has been penalised for expressing his beliefs is disturbing as he has been democratically elected and undemocratically cancelled.”

Ms. Williams said there are many Christians in the Conservative Party, and many others who share views similar to those of Mr. Lawal.

She added: “The Conservative Party should welcome and allow Christian members of the Party to share their Christian and biblical views relating to our culture.

“We hope that the Conservative Party will see sense and reinstate Cllr Lawal without delay.”

The Epoch Times has contacted the Conservative Party for comment.

Mr. Lawal added: “How I have been treated is really troubling for a democratic society.

“It must ring alarm bells and should concern everybody who cares about Christian freedoms and free speech as this can now happen to anyone that is not in support of this extreme LGBT movement.

“The Bible tells us that to live out a true Christian calling you have to pick up your cross. I am determined to fight for justice, to clear my name, and to ensure that this does not happen to another person.”