Political candidates back Parliamentary Scientology debate ahead of general election

Candidates across all three major parties running in next month’s UK general election have pledged their support for a Parliamentary debate on Scientology should they be successful.

Earlier this year former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, who has stood as the Labour Member of Parliament for Hackney North & Stoke Newington since 1987, voiced her concerns about Scientology’s harassment of critics and former members and formally requested an investigation into their finances.

She was then joined in May by former BBC Panorama journalist John Sweeney, who is standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Sutton Coldfield. He told Scientology Business “for far too long, Britain’s political establishment has given the Church of Scientology an easy ride” and promised “a debate condemning the Church’s abuse of young and vulnerable people in the UK and around the world” if elected.

Today, two more candidates have pledged their support for a Parliamentary debate.

Conservative candidate for Plymouth Gareth Streeter is described on his website as “the kind of politician that gives due attention to the issues that really make a huge difference to people’s lives.  Even when those issues are less likely to hit the headlines”. Scientology have owned property in Plymouth for decades. Their most recent acquisition, the former Royal Fleet Club, has stood empty and crumbling since Scientology took ownership 14 years ago awaiting renovation under plans to turn the building into an ‘Ideal Org’.

Diane Abbott, John Sweeney, Neil Duncan-Jordan and Gareth Streeter have voiced support for a Scientology debate

Yesterday, after being contacted by Scientology Business Editor and activist Alexander Barnes-Ross (aka “Apostate Alex”), Streeter asked for a meeting to discuss the concerns around Scientology’s operations in the city and said “I would certainly be open to supporting a [debate] in Parliament.”

Labour candidate for Poole Neil Duncan-Jordan also told us “If elected I’d be happy to debate this in Parliament.” Scientology have operated a Mission in his constituency since 1986, when the ‘Dianetics and Scientology Mission of Bournemouth’ was incorporated. It now operates simply as the ‘Church of Scientology Mission of Bournemouth’ despite its address being located in Poole.

On his website, Duncan-Jordan says “I have a strong track record of giving a voice to people to help them achieve dignity and security at work. I would bring this same level of experience and commitment to the people of Poole. Speaking up for others is part of my DNA.”

Today’s news means four candidates across all three major parties have now pledged support for a debate on Scientology’s abusive practices, making it one of a few rare issues which has cross-party support from candidates across the political spectrum.

In three weeks, the UK will head to the polls and vote in what is widely expected to be an historic election. You can read more on how to get involved in raising the issue of Scientology abuse here, and find out who is standing in your constituency here.

Scientology was described as a “mafia-like” organisation that inflicts “barbaric punishments” upon its staff in a 1975 government report, which concluded “the Church of Scientology does not merely persuade people to part with their money. It is a harmful movement with an evil reputation.“ In 1999, the Charity Commission rejected their application for tax exemption after it was ruled Scientology “does not benefit the public”, however it has continued to operate in the UK through an Australian-registered non-profit called ‘Church of Scientology Religious Education College Inc’.

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Alexander Barnes-Ross https://www.scientologybusiness.com

Scientology Business provides analysis and commentary on the Church of Scientology's corporate structure, business operations and functions in the United Kingdom and Europe. The website looks at Scientology's shell companies, financial records and maps the web of international corporate entities responsible for their UK and European activities.

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