Charities 'to keep out of politics'

A number of Tory backbenchers criticised Oxfam earlier this year for "political" opposition to benefit cuts and zero-hour contracts

Brooks Newmark, the minister responsible for David Cameron's Big Society drive

First published in National News © by

The minister responsible for David Cameron's Big Society drive is embroiled in a row after telling charities to "stick to their knitting" and keep out of politics.

Brooks Newmark, who was appointed in the summer reshuffle, used his first major intervention to criticise organisations that "stray" from their core functions.

According to the civilsociety.co.uk website, Mr Newmark told a conference on social action: "We really want to try and keep charities and voluntary groups out of the realms of politics. Some 99.9% do exactly that. When they stray into the realm of politics that is not what they are about and that is not why people give them money."

He added: "The important thing charities should be doing is sticking to their knitting and doing the best they can to promote their agenda, which should be about helping others."

Alexandra Runswick, director of campaign group Unlock Democracy, branded the Tory MP's words "condescending", arguing that said charities "should be able to advocate, not just knit".

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, wrote on Twitter: "Incredibly insulting for charities minister to tell civil society to 'stick to its knitting' & I think sexist too."

Shadow minister for civil society Lisa Nandy said Mr Newmark was spouting "patronising rubbish".

"It's his first speech as charities minister, and I think it's not just patronising but actually deeply offensive at a time when charities are picking up the pieces from this Government's awful, unfair policies, that their ministers would talk about them in such a dismissive way," she told the Guardian.

"This comes from a Government that hasn't just introduced the Lobbying Act but has also restricted charities using judicial review, cut legal aid, ramped up employment tribunal fees and clamped down on immigration appeals. What you're looking at is a Government that doesn't like challenge. That is quite a frightening place for a Government to have got itself into."

A number of Tory backbenchers criticised Oxfam earlier this year for "political" opposition to benefit cuts and zero-hour contracts.

But charities have insisted they are entitled to take positions on issues related to their work.

After his comments yesterday, Mr Newmark clarified that charities "absolutely have right to campaign but should stay out of realm of 'party' politics".

Comments (11)

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9:31am Thu 4 Sep 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

What I don't understand about men who belittle women and who assume that being male automatically makes them more important than females is the fact that they never seem to realise that they physically came into the world via a woman. Many of these guys dismiss activities like knitting, sewing, cooking and caring for other human beings but if they were put in the same position where they were compelled to do the aforementioned they wouldn't have a clue and would soon, very rapidly go downhill.
What I don't understand about men who belittle women and who assume that being male automatically makes them more important than females is the fact that they never seem to realise that they physically came into the world via a woman. Many of these guys dismiss activities like knitting, sewing, cooking and caring for other human beings but if they were put in the same position where they were compelled to do the aforementioned they wouldn't have a clue and would soon, very rapidly go downhill. Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: -2

10:20am Thu 4 Sep 14

gramps427 says...

Everyone should be involved in politics Mr Newman; whether it be as part of a charity or as a member of the electorate or as a victim of policies put forward by Government to hide corruption in tax avoidance, MP's and Councillor's expenses, anything by Ian Duncan Smith so on and so forth!
That a Government minister and spokesman speaks out against Charities who are opposed to policies that cause hardship is a clear sign of guilt along with the actions of Government akin to a dictatorship.
Everyone should be involved in politics Mr Newman; whether it be as part of a charity or as a member of the electorate or as a victim of policies put forward by Government to hide corruption in tax avoidance, MP's and Councillor's expenses, anything by Ian Duncan Smith so on and so forth! That a Government minister and spokesman speaks out against Charities who are opposed to policies that cause hardship is a clear sign of guilt along with the actions of Government akin to a dictatorship. gramps427
  • Score: 1

10:41am Thu 4 Sep 14

Rita Jelfs says...

Does Mr Newark not understand that charities and political involvement are not mutually exclusive. People who are involved in charities are very qualified to provide information to, and be involved in social policies of government. What would advanced countries do without the Red Cross and Salvation Army. etc. Charities work in the community. They understand how a government's social policies can improve or deteriorate the circumstances of people who rely on charities. Many pensioners are now relying on charities more than ever. That Mr Cameron's Minister does not understand this sends a clear message about his ignorance of charitable organisations , and where his true politics lie.
Does Mr Newark not understand that charities and political involvement are not mutually exclusive. People who are involved in charities are very qualified to provide information to, and be involved in social policies of government. What would advanced countries do without the Red Cross and Salvation Army. etc. Charities work in the community. They understand how a government's social policies can improve or deteriorate the circumstances of people who rely on charities. Many pensioners are now relying on charities more than ever. That Mr Cameron's Minister does not understand this sends a clear message about his ignorance of charitable organisations , and where his true politics lie. Rita Jelfs
  • Score: 1

11:03am Thu 4 Sep 14

Danae says...

Where is the discipline in the Party? Is no one in control?
This sort of thing can damage the Party's national standing.

Not Newmark - But No-mark.
Where is the discipline in the Party? Is no one in control? This sort of thing can damage the Party's national standing. Not Newmark - But No-mark. Danae
  • Score: 2

4:20pm Thu 4 Sep 14

KSO16R says...

Danae wrote:
Where is the discipline in the Party? Is no one in control?
This sort of thing can damage the Party's national standing.

Not Newmark - But No-mark.
Not Newmark not no mark but skidmark.
[quote][p][bold]Danae[/bold] wrote: Where is the discipline in the Party? Is no one in control? This sort of thing can damage the Party's national standing. Not Newmark - But No-mark.[/p][/quote]Not Newmark not no mark but skidmark. KSO16R
  • Score: 1

4:20pm Thu 4 Sep 14

KSO16R says...

Danae wrote:
Where is the discipline in the Party? Is no one in control?
This sort of thing can damage the Party's national standing.

Not Newmark - But No-mark.
Not Newmark not no mark but skidmark.
[quote][p][bold]Danae[/bold] wrote: Where is the discipline in the Party? Is no one in control? This sort of thing can damage the Party's national standing. Not Newmark - But No-mark.[/p][/quote]Not Newmark not no mark but skidmark. KSO16R
  • Score: 1

6:12pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Counterview says...

Knit-wit.
Knit-wit. Counterview
  • Score: 0

7:25pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Jonn says...

Yes, lets leave Politics to Corporate lobbyists shall we Mr Newmark!
We can't have charities exposing the effects of Government austerity.
Yes, lets leave Politics to Corporate lobbyists shall we Mr Newmark! We can't have charities exposing the effects of Government austerity. Jonn
  • Score: 2

9:37am Fri 5 Sep 14

Yemen says...

Katie Re-Registered wrote:
What I don't understand about men who belittle women and who assume that being male automatically makes them more important than females is the fact that they never seem to realise that they physically came into the world via a woman. Many of these guys dismiss activities like knitting, sewing, cooking and caring for other human beings but if they were put in the same position where they were compelled to do the aforementioned they wouldn't have a clue and would soon, very rapidly go downhill.
Oh please... sexist really ??? the phrase comes from Tom Peters and Robert Waterman's 1982 In Search of Excellence book on management. A book most politicians and managers have read, which i daresay is why its used here.

It is therefore YOU that are being sexist by assuming that this term is gender specific and then you go on to get up on your misogynistic high horse and declare that men 'dismiss' activities such as cooking and caring and declare than men would not have a clue.

lets switch the genders and 'assumed female roles' round in your misguided tirade and see how it reads then ...

"What I don't understand about WOMEN who belittle MEN and who assume that being FEMALE automatically makes them more important than MALES is the fact that they never seem to realise that they physically came into the world BECAUSE OF A MAN. Many of these GIRLS dismiss activities like , WORKING HARD ALL WEEK, MANUAL LABOUR and PROVIDING FOR THE FAMILY but if they were put in the same position where they were compelled to do the aforementioned they wouldn't have a clue and would soon, very rapidly go downhill."

Sounds more than a little sexist does it not... you Katie, are seeing what you want to see and assuming something out of nothing !!!!
[quote][p][bold]Katie Re-Registered[/bold] wrote: What I don't understand about men who belittle women and who assume that being male automatically makes them more important than females is the fact that they never seem to realise that they physically came into the world via a woman. Many of these guys dismiss activities like knitting, sewing, cooking and caring for other human beings but if they were put in the same position where they were compelled to do the aforementioned they wouldn't have a clue and would soon, very rapidly go downhill.[/p][/quote]Oh please... sexist really ??? the phrase comes from Tom Peters and Robert Waterman's 1982 In Search of Excellence book on management. A book most politicians and managers have read, which i daresay is why its used here. It is therefore YOU that are being sexist by assuming that this term is gender specific and then you go on to get up on your misogynistic high horse and declare that men 'dismiss' activities such as cooking and caring and declare than men would not have a clue. lets switch the genders and 'assumed female roles' round in your misguided tirade and see how it reads then ... "What I don't understand about WOMEN who belittle MEN and who assume that being FEMALE automatically makes them more important than MALES is the fact that they never seem to realise that they physically came into the world BECAUSE OF A MAN. Many of these GIRLS dismiss activities like , WORKING HARD ALL WEEK, MANUAL LABOUR and PROVIDING FOR THE FAMILY but if they were put in the same position where they were compelled to do the aforementioned they wouldn't have a clue and would soon, very rapidly go downhill." Sounds more than a little sexist does it not... you Katie, are seeing what you want to see and assuming something out of nothing !!!! Yemen
  • Score: 1

9:43am Fri 5 Sep 14

Yemen says...

christ on a bike even my spellcheck is a feminist ! that should read mysandranistic not misoganistic.....
christ on a bike even my spellcheck is a feminist ! that should read mysandranistic not misoganistic..... Yemen
  • Score: 1

6:35pm Fri 5 Sep 14

Counterview says...

No kitemarks for Newmark
No kitemarks for Newmark Counterview
  • Score: 0
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