Research by a national website, Guido Fawkes, and Labour’s candidate to be MP in Lewes, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, has revealed that Norman Baker, the current MP for Lewes and former LibDem Transport Minister accepted a donation from Brian Souter, chairman of Stagecoach buses and prominent anti-gay campaigner. The donation has been condemned by Stonewall a Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual equality charity and Mr Russell-Moyle.
The donation of £3,500 was registered by Mr Baker in the register of members’ interests in Parliament at the end of 2014. In 2000 Mr Souter ran a campaign in Scotland to prevent the repeal of Section 28, which prevented the instruction or “promotion of homosexuality” as an equal relationship. This homophobic law was introduced by the Tories and repealed by Labour in Scotland in 2000 and in England and Wales in 2003.
Mr Russell-Moyle said “it’s unbelievable that our MP would accept a donation from a person who fought so hard to prevent the fair treatment of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) people across the country. Section 28 put fear in to the minds of teachers, and council workers, preventing them supporting LGBT people for decades and contributing to homophobic hate in our schools and workplaces.”
The gay rights group Stonewall told Guido Fawkes in a statement “Despite accepting this donation from a notorious opponent of equality, I’m sure Norman Baker and his team will be seeking to avoid the same fate as the unsuccessful campaigns [Mr] Souter has funded against equality for gay people in Scotland.”
Mr Souter is also the founder and chairman of one of the UKs largest private transport companies and is the reason Mr Baker gives for the donation stating to Guido Fawkes: “The donation is not about gay rights. He thought I was a good Transport minister and he wants me back in parliament.”
Commenting on Mr Baker’s connection with big bus companies, Mr Russell-Moyle stated “whilst we have been fighting to save buses in East Sussex Mr Baker is accepting cash from big bus companies to protect them and not the travelling public. Mr Baker claims he protected buses whilst Transport Minister, but this donation would suggest all he protected was the profits of the companies that take 14 pence of every pound out of public transport and into private pockets. Labour has promised to allow councils to take control over bus lines and run them not-for profit.”
Stagecoach made over £140 million in profits last year and on average over £3million from its routes in each of its areas. Stagecoach runs the former Eastbourne Buses and Hastings and District Buses and receives a subsidy from East Sussex County Council. East Sussex County Council has cut its £1.8 million subsidy without protecting all services across the county, despite East Sussex Labour’s motion to stop the bus cuts passing the full council late last year.
Members of Lewes Labour Party have suggested that Mr Baker should return the money or donate it to the Lewes Stop the Cuts Campaign in support of protecting bus services in East Sussex.
Vía Blog – Lewes Labour Party http://ift.tt/1CLTBKE