CARETwo MPs will no longer take interns from religious charity CARE’s Leadership Programme after it was revealed the charity sponsored an event which aimed to ‘cure’ people of being gay.

Catherine McKinnel, the Labour MP for Newcastle North and Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West confirmed on BBC Radio Newcastle that they would no longer take interns from the charity.

This follows a petition denouncing the charity’s actions, which had gained nine thousand signatures.

Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) co-sponsored the 2009 “Judaeo-Christian” event ‘Sex ad the City: redeeming sex today’ which included talks on “mentoring the sexually broken”.

One of the speakers included Joseph Nicolosi, president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, who has written books on how to “treat” homosexuality.

A petition was lauched by MP Phillip Dawon calling on the 17MPs who had recently accepted CARE interns to terminate contact with the charity.

Ms McKinnell said: “Since October, I have had an intern in my Westminster office who is participating in the CARE Leadership Programme. Recently, allegations have been made in relation to an event that CARE part-funded in 2009 relating to “therapeutic approaches to same sex attraction”.

“I am deeply concerned by these allegations and, due to the sensitivity of the issues involved, I have taken the decision to terminate my collaboration with CARE’s internship programme with immediate effect, and I will not be taking an intern from the CARE Leadership Programme in the future.”

Sharon Hodgson MP said: “The theories discussed at the conference in question could not be further from my opinion, or the opinions of the young people who have had the opportunity to work in Parliament for me through CARE’s scheme.

“I take on CARE interns because I want to give young people interested in politics an opportunity to gain work experience they otherwise wouldn’t have got. At no point have the interns themselves or CARE as an organisation influenced my decisions on any issues, and especially not on gay rights. My voting record on this speaks for itself.

“My current intern is a really hard working young man and I have no intention of ruining his internship or future career prospects because of this by cutting his experience short. That said I do not plan to take another intern through this programme in the future.”

CARE’s internship programme requires interns to subscribe to its “Statement of Faith” which includes belief in the “entire trustworthiness and supreme authority” of the Bible.

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