Wycombe’s ‘pro-life’ general election candidate has defended his anti-abortion views during an interview ahead of the vote.

Mark Smallwood from Leamington Spa is standing as an independent on July 4 but is associated with the ‘Vote Life’ campaign.

The 32-year-old Christian lives in Wycombe with his wife and teaches religious education at a secondary school in Aylesbury.

He told the Bucks Free Press: “It seems morally arbitrary that we draw a line at 24 weeks or coming out of the womb. Either we believe in the right to life of human beings, or we don’t.”

As a teenager, Smallwood was ‘pro-choice’ – supporting access to abortion – but became pro-life after he was shown ‘graphic images’ during a seminar on abortion by evangelical group Christian Concern, where he did an internship.

READ MORE: General election 2024: Full list of Bucks candidates

He said: “I have a voice. I have been granted the gift of life. It is now my responsibility to speak up for those who don’t have a voice.”

During the interview, Smallwood presented a leaflet of images of aborted foetuses produced by the British branch of American anti-abortion group, the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Pointing to the pictures, he said: “This is what happens in a surgical abortion. You can see it is very graphic. It is very disturbing, but it is the truth.

“A lot of women aren’t shown, when they speak to abortion providers, the reality of what is actually going to take place and I think it is important that they should be.”

Under UK abortion law, pregnancies can generally only be terminated up to 24 weeks – apart from in exceptional circumstances.

However, Smallwood has criticised the law and what he called the ‘tactic of saying that some human beings aren’t persons’.

He said: “It reminds me of when in America they had this law saying that a slave was three fifths of a person and that justified atrocities or in Nazi Germany when they said that Jewish people were effectively sub-human.”

Smallwood was asked whether he thought women should have the right to exercise control over their own bodies. He replied: “They do have the right over their own bodies. However, what that ignores is that there is a unique human being – a different body – inside.”

The MP hopeful also defended his views when asked about whether a woman who becomes pregnant from being raped should be able to have an abortion. He said: “It is a horrific thing for a woman to have to go through and I am sorry for any women who have had to go through that. It is a traumatic thing, but abortion is a traumatic thing.”

Smallwood also called for adoption to be considered more as an option when asked if a woman should be able to have an abortion due to economic or other reasons.

The candidate, who said he ‘loves Wycombe’, explained that he wanted his campaign to ‘educate’ people when asked if he had any other policies.

Asked again, he refused to say if he had other policies, adding that he did not want do distract from his core policy.

He said: “If I was elected, I would argue for the de-funding of abortion on the NHS on the grounds that it is not properly understood as healthcare and that that £100 million should go to Wycombe Hospital.”

In the July 4 general election, Smallwood faces Steve Baker (Conservative), Emma Reynolds (Labour), Toni Brodelle (Liberal Democrats), Catherine Bunting (Green Party), Khalil Ahmed (Workers Party of Britain), Richard Phoenix (Reform UK), Ed Gemmell (Climate Party) and Ajaz Rehman (Independent).

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