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An Anglican church leader has slammed Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) after he pushed back against the company’s alleged pushing of transgender ideology.
The Reverend Richard Fothergill had held an account there for 17 years before writing what he called a polite rebuttal of their promotional output during Pride month this June.
Four days later he received a letter informing him his account would be closed within a fortnight, The Times reports.
This comes less than a week after GB News host and arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage revealed he had found himself in a similar situation, and warned of an alarming trend.
On his nightly show on Thursday, he said: “It seems to be all one way. It seems to be all against people who have traditionalist or conservative views. There is something totally outrageous going on here.”
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Rev Fothergill, 62, from Windermere, Cumbria, was simply responding to a monthly email from YBS asking for his feedback.
In the note they sent back, the building society reportedly claimed their relationship had “irrevocably broken down”, and that they had a “zero tolerance approach to discrimination”.
Speaking to The Times, he said: “I wasn’t even aware that our relationship had a problem. They are a financial house – they are not there to do social engineering. I think they should concentrate their efforts on managing money, instead of promoting LGBT ideology.
“I know cancel culture exists and this is my first first-hand experience of it. I wouldn’t want this bullying to happen to anyone else.”
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Mr Farage had warned his viewers of this sort of repercussion after suffering what he deemed “political persecution” as his bank accounts were also shut. “If they can do it to me, they can do it to you too,” he said.
He went on to warn: “Anything you say on Facebook or Twitter may result in you losing your bank accounts too. That is, I think, how scary this whole thing is.”
Rev Fothergill is not often in the national spotlight. He founded the Filling Station evangelical network but is no longer responsible for his own parish. He said he typed out a “couple of paragraphs” explaining why he did not agree with exposing children to the concept of alternative genders.
A spokesman for YBS said: “We never close savings accounts based on different opinions regarding beliefs or feedback provided by our customers. We only ever make the difficult decision to close a savings account if a customer is rude, abusive, violent or discriminates in any way, based on the specific facts, comments and behaviour in each case.”
Rev Fothergill approached the Free Speech Union after receiving the letter. Its founder, former Conservative MP Toby Young, described banks closing accounts as “like something from communist China”.
Meanwhile, journalist Stuart Campbell, who runs the pro-Scottish independence blog Wings over Scotland, suggested his accounts with First Direct were closed because of his views on gender and sex.
The @WingsScotland Twitter account thread read: “I’ve banked with them (First Direct) for 25+ years, but last week I was in Sainsbury’s buying some milk… and my card got declined. I rang them up, and after over an hour on hold, they told me all my accounts had been cancelled.
“It obviously came as something of a shock… so I asked why on Earth such a thing would have happened, and they point-blank refused to give any reason.”
A First Direct spokesperson told MailOnline they would not comment on individual cases, but added: “In general terms, decisions to end a customer relationship are not taken lightly, but are absolutely not based on individual beliefs.”
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