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New officers elected by All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group

Left to right: Tommy Sheppard MP, Baroness Joan Bakewell, Aaron Bell MP

The All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG) has elected SNP member Tommy Sheppard MP as its new Chair. Labour peer Baroness Bakewell remains as Co-Chair while Conservative MP Aaron Bell, was elected as the Group’s new Secretary.

The APPHG is a cross-party group of Members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords of all the main parties, including members from the Crossbenches in the Lords. The Group is not part of Humanists UK, but Humanists UK provides the secretariat.

APPHG members elected the following officers:

Chair: Tommy Sheppard MP (SNP)

Co-Chair: Baroness Bakewell DBE (Labour)

Secretary: Aaron Bell MP (Conservative)

Treasurer: Lord Dubs of Battersea (Labour)

Vice Chairs: Ruth Cadbury MP (Labour), Rachel Hopkins MP (Labour), Clive Lewis MP (Labour), Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP (Labour), Jeff Smith MP (Labour), Baroness Massey of Darwen (Labour), Lord Taverne of Pimlico (Liberal Democrats), and Baroness Burt of Solihull (Liberal Democrats)

Andrew Copson, Humanist UK’s Chief Executive, reflected on the last year for the Group. He commended the APPHG for their work towards getting the Government to legislate to shut down illegal religious schools in England. He congratulated Baroness Burt on shepherding her Inclusive Assemblies Bill through the House of Lords last session, and for her Inclusive RE Bill, which has been drawn 22nd in this year’s ballot. He highlighted last month’s oral question in the Lords, tabled by Baroness Burt, which saw 11 peers from all sides, calling for legal recognition of humanist marriage. Andrew also commended the efforts of the many peers who spoke and voted for Baroness Meacher’s Assisted Dying Bill. He drew attention to the 30 parliamentary questions that have been tabled regarding the case of Mubarak Bala, President of the Nigerian Humanist Association, sentenced to 24 years in prison for blasphemy. And, finally, he note the success in securing the provision of at-home abortions post-pandemic, making it easier than ever for women to have safe and timely terminations.

Members also thanked the outgoing officers for getting back down to business after the particularly challenging first year of the pandemic,  with special reference to their strong commitment to legal recognition of humanist marriages.

The Group subsequently held a meeting to discuss assisted dying.

Notes:

For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at press@humanists.uk or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

Read more about Humanists in Parliament.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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