Select Page

Peer claims “dark money” behind pro-life movement, yet failed to declare trusteeship of group funding abortion lobbying

A House of Lords’ investigation into a pro-abortion peer’s conduct during a debate on abortion where the Peer claimed that “dark money” was funding pro-life groups in the UK has concluded that she breached the rules by failing to declare an interest she has as a trustee of a group with income of over £160 million in 2022 that provides funding for a number of organisations that fund pro-abortion lobbying.

During the debate on the Foetal Sentience Committee Bill, Baroness Kennedy used her speech to suggest that “dark money” had been funding pro-life groups in the UK. When challenged by Lord Moylan as to whether she was accusing him of being a recipient of this “dark money“, the Baroness suggested that he was one of the “innocent dupes” used by pro-life organisations. When asked what any of this had to do with the Bill under discussion, the Baroness suggested the Bill was a kind of ploy to “roll back advances that have been made in relation to abortion”.

Lord Jackson of Peterborough made a complaint that, ahead of a debate on the Foetal Sentience Committee Bill on 22 March 2024, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws had failed to declare that she was a trustee of the Sigrid Rausing Trust – a charity that, among other endeavours, provides funding to a number of organisations that lobby Governments to increase abortion access.

According to sections 14a and 17 of the Code of Conduct for Members of the House of Lords, “all relevant interests” must be registered, and registration of interests must be “accurate and up-to-date”. The Commissioner for Standards who conducted the investigation, Martin Jelley QPM DL, concluded Baroness Kennedy breached both of these rules of the code of conduct.

Baroness Kennedy has been a trustee for the Sigrid Rausing Trust (SRT) since October 2023.

In response to the investigation, the Baroness has since apologised for breaching the rules and registered her role as a trustee.

Grants for pro-abortion organisations

According to its website, SRT has provided £600,000 to the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) over two years starting in December 2023. The CRR is a legal advocacy group that aims to “expand abortion rights and access”.

SRT has also provided more than £1.5 million to a group called Urgent Action Fund – Women’s Rights, which itself has provided grants to other groups that aim to increase abortion access. It is unclear how much of the £1.5 million from past and current grants has been used directly for abortion promotion.

SRT has also provided grants worth almost £900,000 to a group operating in Poland that “has been helping Polish women access abortion”, despite the fact that Poland continues to have strong protections for unborn babies.

With the announcement of the snap general election, Parliament has been dissolved and the Foetal Sentience Committee Bill will not be moving forward.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said “Baroness Kennedy is claiming that there is ‘dark money’ funding the pro-life movement and, at the same time, failing to declare her own interest in a group with an income of over £160 million that provides funding for pro-abortion groups and engages in lobbying of Governments to increase abortion access around the globe”.

“For the sake of transparency, it is important that Peers and other politicians make their interests clear. Baroness Kennedy is not only a supporter of abortion but also actively involved in an organisation that funds pro-abortion lobbying. This information should have been made known in accordance with the Code of Conduct for the House of Lords ahead of the debate on the Foetal Sentience Committee Bill”.

Dear reader,

Ahead of the General Election on 4 July, do you want to find out where your local MP candidates stand on abortion?

You can find out now using our Vote For Both Lives tool, which you can access by clicking the button below.