David Cameron's new minister for civil society has been branded patronising and dismissive after he told charities to "stick to their knitting" and keep out of politics.
Brooks Newmark, who was appointed in the summer reshuffle, made the comments amid worries among charities that the new Lobbying Act that will limit their ability to campaign on issues of the day.
In his first major speech since he took on the role, Newmark used the opportunity to criticise charities who "stray" out of their remit of helping people.
Asked about the ability of charities to campaign, he said: "We really want to try and keep charities and voluntary groups out of the realms of politics. Some 99.9% do exactly that. When they stray into the realm of politics that is not what they are about and that is not why people give them money."
In comments first reported on Civil Society, he added: "The important thing charities should be doing is sticking to their knitting and doing the best they can to promote their agenda, which should be about helping others."