BETA

Member of the Church elected to Parliament in England

Terry Rooney, 39, elders quorum president in the Bradford 2nd Ward, Huddersfield England Stake, is the first Mormon ever elected Member of Parliament in Great Britain.

Rooney's vote tally more than doubled that of his nearest rival in the Nov. 9 election. The full-time "MP" office is comparable to that of the House of Representatives in the United States. He will represent Bradford North, an area within the 400,000-population of metropolitan Bradford in northern England.A member of the Labour Party with long-time local political service, Rooney was elected with the seat's largest-ever majority, receiving 18,619 votes to 9,105 of his nearest rival, and to the 6,048 garnered by his opponent in the ruling Conservative Party of the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Converted to the Church five years ago, he has served in the ward Young Men presidency, as Gospel Doctrine teacher, and Sunday School president.

He is described by his associates as having unblemished integrity. During his candidate selection interview in Bradford in front of a large crowd, he was given a wave of applause when he commented, "I cannot be bought, and I will buy nobody. I will promise nobody anything except that I will do my best for

Bradford North. When I go out of this room, I will go out with my integrity."

Most people know of his membership in the Church. "Mr. Rooney is a very good candidate," stated a British newspaper. "A straight talker with a likable personality; married with three children.

"He's also a Mormon (Britain's first Mormon MP) although this has not been a factor."

His wife, Suzanne, said when drinks are served in political gatherings, people automatically bring him orange juice. "He's known as `the orange juice king,' " she said.

In the campaign, Rooney advocated educational reforms and abolition of the poll tax, a fee that registered voters are assessed. He advocated a theme, "Let's care about each other."

Before his election, he was a welfare rights officer who helped people who are eligible for benefits and to resolve legal problems. He was elected to the local (city) council eight years ago.

On the council, he supported community moral values. "We used to have pornography shops in Bradford, and he closed them all," said Sister Rooney, ward Primary president. "He stopped the license of a number of pubs that had immoral shows.

"He also stopped council meetings from being held on Sundays. Those are only small things - little beginnings, but it is using his influence in a positive way," she said.

"One newspaper ran a splash about the Mormons. It wasn't big, but it was good," she continued. "I was interviewed on television for a Sunday program about the effect of his being a Mormon."

She told her interviewer that "because of our religion, families are so important to us." Their children are Adele, 20, an economics student at York University; Elisabeth, 19, an accounting student at Newcastle Polytechnic; and Peter, 15, a teacher's quorum member. All have had "loads of Church callings," she said.

Sister Rooney said when her husband was called as elders quorum president a year ago, he was blessed that if he did what the Lord wanted him to do in his calling, he would be blessed in his career as well.

It was following this blessing that he became deputy council leader and was selected as a candidate for member of parliament, she said.

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