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9 July 2019, 15:24 | Updated: 9 July 2019, 17:36
A doctor has said his Christian convictions cost him his job as a disability assessor after he refused to address transgender claimants using pronouns relating to their chosen sex.
Speaking before the start of an employment tribunal, Dr David Mackereth said he felt he had to take a stand against what is expected of him by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Dr Mackereth, whose legal case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, claims the DWP has breached the Equality Act and his right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
The 56-year-old, from Dudley, West Midlands, is alleged to have been suspended from his post after a conversation with a manager at Birmingham's Fiveways assessment centre in June 2018.
Speaking to the media as he arrived at employment tribunal offices in Birmingham on Tuesday, Dr Mackereth said: "Last year I was training to do medical assessments for the Department for Work and Pensions and because of my Christian convictions I felt I couldn't use pronouns - the words 'he' and 'she' - in an arbitrary manner.
"I said that in good conscience I couldn't do that. The Department for Work and Pensions took some time to think about it and decided then that I wasn't fit to do the job because of, I would say, my Christian convictions.
"So I am coming to court today because I want the right to practise medicine as a Christian doctor in the way that I have always have."
Dr Mackereth added: "I am very much hoping that the court will decide that I can't be forced to use language in a way that I consider to be dishonest and against my Christian faith.
"I want to stress this isn't personal - we are not out to get anybody. As a Christian doctor I believe we have to show compassion to all our patients whatever their background.
"But at the same time my conscience now has been pushed by the Government where I cannot let it go, and I have to take this stand."
Legal submissions were made in a closed session of the tribunal on Tuesday. Evidence in the case is expected to begin on Wednesday.
The DWP said it could not comment due to an ongoing employment tribunal.