Conservative Christian Fellowship
In early 1997 40 Conservative MPs and four cabinet ministers were members of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, members included Brian Mawhinney, Peter Lilley, John Gummer, Anne Widdecombe and Lord Mackay. At this time the group were receiving advice from the U.S. on how best to 'strip Tony Blair's New Labour of its claims to be Christian'.
Nick Cohen argues that the Conservative Christian Fellowship's journal 'denounced gay soldiers as suicide risks, security risks, blackmail risks, health risks and rape risks' and that its chairman Tim Montgomerie said that he was willing to give 'sacrificial care' to homosexuals who saw the error of the their ways.
In 2001 the Fellowship was based at Conservative Party headquarters and controversy arose when a leaked document revealed close links between links between the Synod, a faction which fielded candidates in elections to the Church's ruling body and the Conservative Christian Fellowship. The revelation prompted Graham Dale, from the Christian Socialist Movement to argue that:
- 'Christians everywhere need to be aware of the increasingly well-funded efforts of the Conservative Party to infiltrate and influence normal democratic church debate'.
- Martin Wroe, Tories get US Election Aid for Holy War on Labour, The Independent, 26-January-1997
- Nick Cohen, Comment: Without Prejudice: Let us pray for William Hague. Oh well, suit yourself, The Observer, 12-September-1999
- Andrew Grice, Tories Accused Over Elections to SYNOD, The Independent, 19-January-2001