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MP tells charities to "stick to their knitting" and avoid politics

Thu 04 Sep 2014
By Premier Journalist

The leader of a Christian charity has called the comments "patronising and insensitive".

Brooks Newmark, the new Minister for Civil Society, made the comments during his first major speech.

He urged charities to steer clear of political campaigning, arguing that is not what the public gives them money for.

It comes as the Charity Commission is consulting on plans that would require charities to say how much they spend on campaigning.

Mark Russell is the CEO of Christian charity 'Church Army', which works for social justice.

He told Premier he's invited the minister to come and see the work of his charity 'first hand': "I would urge him to say, 'look: I'm sorry, I've caused some offence. I probably shouldn't have said that'

"And then I would encourage him, before he opens his mouth again, to go and spend a few days out in various charities and seeing the great work they do".

He added that donors can "easily" see how the charities they support are spending their funds.

Mr Russell claims that charities, in particular Christian ones, play a vital role in campaigning for change:

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