The United Kingdom Parliament provided a prestigious backdrop for the presentation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family Values Award — the first time the honor has been awarded at the UK House of Commons. The award is given annually by the Church in the United Kingdom.
The award was received by the Rt Hon John Battle MP, who served as former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s envoy to all faith communities in the UK. The award is presented to “members of the community who have achieved remarkable things that support families.”
The event was hosted by Terry Rooney MP and attended by members of the British legislature, leading academics, and opinion leaders with professional interest in family issues.
“We salute every one of you for the contribution that you’re making,” said Elder Stephen Kerr, area seventy of the Church, speaking at the special luncheon in the houses of Parliament.
He added, “The institution that will save our broken society is not Parliament, it is the home.” Quoting former Church President Harold B. Lee, Kerr remarked, “‘The greatest work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home’ — that’s why we will continue to celebrate family values.”
Rooney describes John Battle MP as “a champion of families under stress.”
Throughout his time in politics, Battle has used his influence to champion welfare, poverty and family issues and has sought to carefully balance his time between family and work — seeking foremost to be a good husband and father.
“Stable people make stable relationships,” Battle emphasized. “How we keep the stability is by the support of the people around us. Thank you to the Church and thank you to Terry [Rooney]. It’s been a very, very special occasion in this place and in the seat of democracy.”
Battle is a devout Roman Catholic, and he and his wife, Mary, have one son and two daughters. He currently serves on the British Parliament’s International Development Committee.
Also honored was Jill Kirby, director of the Centre for Policy Studies, one of Britain’s best-known social policy think tanks.
“I feel very supported by the work of your church in sharing the values we see as important,” she reflected after she received her award. “There is a great deal of work ahead of us to improve the work of family life in Britain today.”
Kirby was the founder and chair of Full-Time Mothers, which strongly advocated the importance of mothers having the choice to stay at home to care for their children and sought to have policies to support them doing so.
She has commissioned research and written extensively on the importance of marriage and the family. Her personal views and perspectives on the family are frequently sought by Shadow Cabinet members and the media alike.
The 2009 Family Values Award is the fifth such event held in London and is organized by Church Public Affairs in London. Previous recipients include Mary Crowley MBE, Chief Executive Parent UK, and the Rt Hon Paul Boateng, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury.