Objecting to Pride movement not homophobic, says Tory Party

King Lawal’s suspension was requested by Conservative Campaign Headquarters
King Lawal’s suspension was requested by Conservative Campaign Headquarters - Andrew Fox

Objecting to the Pride movement is not homophobic, a Conservative Party investigation has concluded.

King Lawal, a Christian councillor in Northamptonshire, was subject to a four-month investigation for tweeting that “Pride is not a virtue but a sin”, among other remarks

He was cleared of wrongdoing on the grounds of expressing his “religious beliefs” by a Conservative Party headquarters committee in November, documents seen by the Telegraph reveal, but was only informed this week.

Cllr Lawal, 31, was suspended by his local Conservative group in July 2023 and removed as chair of the health scrutiny committee and vice-chair of the scrutiny management board at the North Northamptonshire council.

The suspension came after he took to social media to respond to images of Pride parades organised by LGBT groups in June, writing: “When did Pride become a thing to celebrate. Because of Pride Satan fell as an arch Angel. Pride is not a virtue but a Sin. Those who have Pride should Repent of their sins and return to Jesus Christ. He can save you. #PrideMonth #Pride23 #PrideParade.”

‘Abused social media’

It is understood that Cllr Lawal’s suspension was requested by Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ), which also wanted to conduct a central, rather than local, investigation.

It was alleged that he had “abused social media” and made a “homophobic” post that had “failed to sustain and [is] in conflict with the purpose, objects and values of the Conservative Party”.

But in its ruling, four months after his suspension, the disciplinary sub-committee concluded that “it would be wrong to conflate an objection to the Pride movement as homophobic”.

“The panel recognises that [Cllr Lawal’s] posts are a representation of his religious beliefs, which he is free and entitled to hold,” its decision read.

“Accordingly, the posts, whilst they may be offensive to some, would on balance not be considered by a reasonable and fair-minded observer to be discriminatory or homophobic per se.”

Cllr Lawal was reinstated by a local Conservative group in October 2023, and restored to other board positions at the council, but continued to be investigated by CCHQ.

‘I am appalled’

The 31-year-old was cleared of wrongdoing on Nov 6, but only found out about the panel’s decision earlier this week – more than three months later.

Cllr Lawal said: “I appreciate the conclusions of the panel, but I am appalled that I was subjected to this investigation in the first place. For over six months I have had the cloud of this investigation hanging over me, even when the local group reinstated me.”

He said that “significant factions of the Conservative Party have turned their back on their own supporters and values” and said his treatment was “really troubling for a democratic society”.

“I am determined to continue to fight for justice and to clear my name and ensure that this does not happen to another person,” he added. “My ambition for the future is to one day stand as an MP; this country and the Conservative Party especially, needs more passionate Christian leaders and politicians, not less.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Cllr Lawal, said the repercussions of “expressing his Christian beliefs have been unprecedented”.

“CCHQ should have stood by Cllr Lawal and defended his Christian freedoms instead of joining in the attack and mirroring intolerant Labour Party activists determined to eradicate Christian beliefs from the public square,” she said.

CCHQ was approached for comment.