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Chris McAndrew/Parliament UK
Politics

MP added to SNP's approved list despite 'very toxic atmosphere for Christians in politics'

by Cara Bentley

Dr Lisa Cameron, the Scottish National Party member of parliament for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, voted against changing the Northern Ireland abortion law earlier this year because of her Christian faith and her own experience of having two late-term miscarriages.

Although the vote was not whipped, meaning MPs could vote with their conscience, afterwards she received abuse from members of her own party and on social media, many which she said reminded her of her own miscarriages and one which said they would come to 'abort her'.

At the time of that vote, there was talk among her local party to not select her for the Scottish seat at the next election. So, when she did not appear immediately on the list of approved candidates for a potential snap election, Dr Cameron felt the party was trying to send her a message about what views she could and could not have.

Dr Cameron told Premier: "The process seemed to be delayed for some unexplained reason, in that I couldn't find out what further information they needed from me in order to progress it. Following the vote on the abortion issue, local officials from my local branches, including conveners and those who are on the vetting panel had said that my vote meant basically that I breached party policy, or that I should be deselected, or that I wasn't then fit to pass vetting and be a candidate at any level in terms of elected representation."

When Premier contacted the SNP for comment about the apparent deselection, it replied: 'Not sure who has been feeding you this nonsense' and said she had been approved.

However, Dr Cameron at that point was not aware of this, saying she had only received positive signs but no confirmation: "As of this week things seem more positive. There was a ballot for members locally and it didn't reach the threshold to mean that I have an open contest so it looks like the local members are supporting me.

"I've now sent an email back to the party headquarters to confirm whether or not they are going to endorse me as a candidate going forward and if they can confirm that."

Speaking about the abuse she got for her views, she said: "What I would say is, there's a very toxic atmosphere for Christians, particularly in politics, and it comes from social media. It comes from all realms of society, including from my own party members.

"I think that we need to be very clear, that people are entitled to have a faith and it's very important that people are entitled to have those views and to make them known in politics.

"It's just as relevant as any other view and I'm at the stage now, where even if it was meant I'd lost my job, I'm very pleased that I stood up for my principles and maintained my integrity through the whole thing and that's important to me."

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