A member of the Conservative Party’s candidate’s list has accused Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European championship winning triple jumper Jonathan Edward CBE of being part of the “god squad” in a derogatory statement about Christians in the UK.
Rene Kinzett questioned whether his friend had been asked to join the “god squad” when he met the former Songs of Praise presenter in a comment on Facebook.
When challenged by another user about his “intolerance” Kinzett said he was “intolerant of po-faced humourless twats”. Mr Kinzett’s comments are likely to be related to Edwards’s strong Christian views, which he is believed to have been abandoned in 2007.
Kinzett ran for Swansea West in the 2010 General Election, and is chairman of the liberal left-wing Tory Reform (TRG) pressure group in Wales. He supported the bill to bring in same sex marriage on the grounds that “identifiable groups” should not be discriminated against.
His discussion on Edwards took place after the Deputy Chairman of the Tory Reform Group in Wales, Craig Lawton posted a photo of himself and Edwards together. The picture was taken at the European Athletics Championship that is currently taking place in Swansea.
Kinzett asked Lawton “Did he try to get you to join the god squad.
Lawton responded “Thankfully no. We played basketball and then had a coffee”. Kinzett then said “They keep God up their sleeves these days…” it is unclear whether this was a reference to Edwards leaving the church or based on a perception that Lawton had been duped into spending time with Edwards.
During the debate on gay marriage Kinzett said: “The act of discriminating against an identified group of people and seeking to deny them access to services or denying them the same opportunities as any other group should have no place in a modern, democratic and civilised society.” Though these sentiments did not appear to have been on display in his Facebook exchange.
When phoned by Breitbart London Craig Lawton said: “I’m not one to delete offensive comments from my Facebook unless they include swearing. I reject the suggestion that I am intolerant, I posted the picture because I was pleased to have met Jonathan Edwards whilst volunteering at the games. You would have to ask Rene about why he said what he did.”
Mr Kinzett was not available for comment.
The Tory Reform Group, which Kinzett and Lawton run in Wales, represents “One Nation Conservatism” and was opposed to Thatcherism, instead idolising the discredited Conservative leader Edward Heath. In recent years its membership has dwindled as Thatcherite pressure groups like Conservative Way Forward and the Bow Group have grown.
The badge “One Nation”, originally attributed to Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, has now been claimed by Labour leader Ed Miliband, raising the oft-asked question as to whether TRG members might not be more at home in the Labour Party.