Penny Mordaunt’s company lobbied for an anti-abortion evangelical group
A public relations firm co-founded by conservative leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt lobbied for a fee for a group of evangelical doctors who want to ban abortion, even in cases of rape, while she was still listed as a director and shareholder .
Mordaunt’s campaign denied that she was “still working” for Media Intelligence Partners (MIP) when she entered into a public relations contract with the Christian Medical Fellowship. However, it could not be denied that she remained one of the company’s three directors and a shareholder, and it is unclear whether Mordaunt, now trade minister, benefited financially from the lobbying of the MIP for the scholarship.
One of the reports on the Fellowship’s website suggests that abortion is wrong, even when a woman has been sexually assaulted, because keeping the child is “a show of courage, strength and honour”. Abortion in case of rape “simply sacrifices an innocent second party to the crime”, he says: “Many women who have been raped think that abortion is immoral, and that the child is only a second victim, and that if they can get out of the pregnancy they will have overcome the rape.
MIP, which has done public relations work for the stock exchange, was founded by Mordaunt and Nick Wood, former press secretary to Tory leaders William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith, in 2004. Mordaunt was listed as a shareholder and director by Companies House until 2010 when she was elected MP for Portsmouth North.
The Christian Medical Fellowship has confirmed to new statesman that he held a contract with MIP, which bragged about his client in 2009, when Mordaunt was listed as a communications specialist by MIP. The Fellowship said it had “never met or had contact” with Mordaunt.
A Mordaunt campaign source said: ‘Penny was no longer working for MIP at the time the company was carrying out work on behalf of the Christian Medical Fellowship. Penny has always defended and continues to defend women’s rights. As an MP, Mordaunt voted to liberalize abortion access, including in 2019 to make it legal in Northern Ireland.
The exchange has been heavily criticized in the past. In 2007, MPs on a committee to review abortion laws accused him of confusing the evidence given to them. Six doctors who testified at the 2007 inquest, which examined recent scientific research related to abortion, failed to disclose that they were members or activists of the group, which had already provided its own evidence. When this was discovered, MPs asked all witnesses to disclose their relevant affiliations.
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John Wyatt, one of the Fellowship’s physicians and a member of the Fellowship’s public policy committee at the time, told the Guardian that he presented his submission as “individual” and that the suggestion that people were trying to hide their affiliations was “surely ridiculous in the age of Google”.
The Fellowship, which advocates allowing doctors to convert patients to Christianity, has also come under fire for a claim in an article on its website that Hinduism is a “false religion”.
A Labor source told the new statesman“This is just the latest twist in a Tory leadership race that has shown how unfit they are to lead the country. None of them have an answer about the country’s future, but Penny Mordaunt certainly faces questions about her past.
MIP did not respond to a request for comment.