MP says ‘sorry’ af­ter ap­pear­ing on Rus­sian news show

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Save Her Daughter - By Joe Walker joe­walker@thek­m­ @Joe­walker17

Rosie Duffield has apol­o­gised to the LGBT+ com­mu­nity for ap­pear­ing on a state-funded TV sta­tion dubbed “Vladimir Putin’s pro­pa­ganda chan­nel”.

The Labour MP for Can­ter­bury and Whit­stable de­clared this week that she was paid £500 to be in­ter­viewed on James’s De­laney’s News Thing, a weekly show pro­duced by Rus­sia To­day UK.

Her ap­pear­ance came amid a de­te­ri­o­rat­ing cli­mate for LGBT+ cit­i­zens in Rus­sia, which has passed leg­is­la­tion ban­ning the pro­mo­tion of gay life­styles.

Rus­sia To­day is owned by TVNovosti – a Krem­lin-con­trolled broad­cast­ing con­glom­er­ate – and of­ten ac­cused of pro­mot­ing Mr Putin’s views in the West.

Right- wing blog­ger Guido Fawkes pub­lished a let­ter about Ms Duffield’s Rus­sia To­day ap­pear­ance on his web­site, said to have been writ­ten by a mem­ber of Can­ter­bury’s LGBT+ com­mu­nity, John Gus­man.

In it Mr Gus­man ap­plauds Ms Duffield’s sup­port for Can­ter­bury Gay Pride but con­demns her for ap­pear­ing on a sta­tion which is “noth­ing more than a mouth­piece for Vladimir Putin’s regime”, de­mand­ing an im­me­di­ate apol­ogy.

He writes: “Can­ter­bury is a proud, di­verse and tol­er­ant com­mu­nity where ev­ery­one should feel free to be who they want to be. In short, it’s every­thing Rus­sia To­day isn’t.”

The Ken­tish Gazette has not re­ceived any di­rect com­plaints about the MP’S July ap­pear­ance on Rus­sia To­day.

But in a state­ment re­leased on Fri­day, she apol­o­gised for any of­fence her ap­pear­ance had caused. “I have been fully com­mit­ted to the cham­pi­oning of LGBTQ+ rights my en­tire po­lit­i­cal life,” she added.

“I am proud of my friend­ships and fel­low­ships with all mem- bers of my com­mu­nity and would be more than happy to apol­o­gise, in per­son, at my con­stituency of­fices to any of­fended par­ties.

“My ap­pear­ance in no way con­sti­tutes sup­port for Rus­sia’s ap­palling record on LGBTQ+ rights.”

Ear­lier this month Con­ser­va­tive for­eign sec­re­tary Boris John­son called it a “scan­dal” that Labour MPS were ap­pear­ing on Rus­sia To­day.

Ad­dress­ing MPS in the House of Com­mons, he said: “If you con­sider the state of the press in Rus­sia at present, it is a scan­dal that mem­bers of the party op­po­site are con­tin­u­ing to validate and le­git­i­mate that kind of pro­pa­ganda by go­ing on those pro­grams.”

But he was left red-faced af­ter it was re­vealed his own fa­ther had ap­peared on the sta­tion, along with a num­ber of Tory MPS.

Should Ms Duffield have ap­peared on Rus­sia To­day? Email ken­tishgazette@ thek­m­

Can­ter­bury MP Rosie Duffield on Rus­sia To­day’s News Thing

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