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Monday, October 20, 2008

Too little, too late

In the Mail on Sunday, Peter Hitchens told us something very interesting indeed.

The NSPCC have apparently admitted that a statement made in December welcoming the signing of the Lisbon Treaty and calling for “a speedy ratification in all EU member states”, should never have been made.

You may remember that the statement was later used by Foreign Secretary David Miliband to persuade Labour MPs to vote for ratification of the Treaty in Parliament. As well as using it in an official party briefing paper, with the legend "Their words, not ours", he also stood up in Parliament and told the House:

“The NSPCC pledged its support, as have One World Action, Action Aid and Oxfam. Environmental organisations support the treaty provisions on sustainable development and even the commission of bishops supports the treaty. This is a coalition, not of ideology, but integrity”. As Peter Hitchens says, "Endorsement from such a respected, independent body is priceless."

Well the NSPCC now admit that they withdrew the statement when they realised it had gone too far for a non-political charity. The statement was made in the name of the charity’s Chief Executive, Dame Mary Marsh, who now says she has no recollection of ever having made or authorised it, although the NSPCC’s Chairman, Sir Christopher Kelly, has assured that records show that Dame Mary did authorise the statement.

Peter Hitchens writes: “Her statement, though known to be a serious error, was allowed to remain on the record for months while it was used to influence the outcome of a Parliamentary vote. And the NSPCC, which survives on public and official donations, did nothing to correct what it well knew had been a serious mistake.”

And guess where some of those public donations come from? Well the EU Commission of course. In fact, a written answer to the Commission from MEP Dan Hannan revealed that all of the charities Miliband used to support his stance on the Lisbon Treaty are in receipt of significant amounts of EU funds.

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