Republican complaint about free Queen’s jubilee book for kids ‘petty’ says MLA

DUP MLA Gary Middleton has dismissed complaints about schoolchildren receiving free books to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee as “petty”.

The book in question
The book in question

He made the comments to the News Letter, after the anti-abortion republican party Aontu put out a press release about the government-funded books.

A statement from “Aontu representative for east Derry” Gemma Brolly (who is a teacher herself) said: “In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, whilst our education system is crumbling around us and cries out for investment, thousands of books will reach schools where they simply will not be wanted.

Schools cannot afford to return them so they must decide for themselves what to do with them.”

She said the books will be “viewed by many as highly disrespectful”.

Mr Middleton, who represents Foyle in the Assembly, said that the books in question offer a child’s eye-view of the major themes and events of the Queen’s reign.

“There’s nothing in the book that anybody should find offensive or be threatened by,” he said.

“There’s no doubt there’ll be parents who may not want their children to have these books. But they’re voluntary – you don’t have to accept them. People are perfectly within their rights not to pick up a free book.”