Tory MPs: Red Cross should reinstate volunteer sacked after anti-gay marriage protest

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Four Tory MPs have signed an Early Day Motion calling for the British Red Cross to reinstate a volunteer who was let go after he picketed against same-sex marriage.

UKIP candidate Bryan Barkley, 71, protested in Wakefield in March this year when same-sex weddings began, holding placards that said “No same sex marriage” and “No redefinition of marriage”.

Following the incident, the charity withdrew his opportunity to volunteer, citing the “fundamental principles of the Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement and the values of the British Red Cross”.

However, Mr Barkley claims the dismissal was “unfair and without justification” – and this week four MPs have called for him to be reinstated.

The motion, tabled by Shipley MP Phillip Davies, has been signed by three Conservative MPs – Peter Bottomley (Worthing West), Gerald Howarth (Aldershot) and Stewart Jackson (Peterborough) – have signed an EDM calling for Mr Barkley to be reinstated.

It reads: “That this House is deeply concerned by the decision of the Red Cross to dismiss long-serving volunteer Bryan Barkley because of his personal support for traditional marriage; notes that his views were expressed reasonably, in his own time, and were in no way connnected (sic) with his work for the Red Cross; and calls on the Red Cross to reinstate Mr Barkley immediately.”

Mr Davies, Mr Howarth and Mr Jackson all voted against equal marriage last year – while Peter Bottomley had previously backed equal marriage.

The British Red Cross insists: “We have repeatedly said – and underlined – that this volunteer was not let go because of his personal views.

“The British Red Cross respects the right of people to hold views in private.

“It is only where someone’s views interfere with the impartial delivery of our services to people in need – conflicting with our fundamental principles – that we are forced to act. Where there are serioius concerns, we have no option but to take action.”

Last week, Ann Widdecombe threatened to cut her ties with the Red Cross over the incident.