CHRISTIANS share the same values as the Labour Party and play an
important part in it, the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has said.
Speaking to reporters after the Christmas reception of
Christians on the Left on Monday, he said that, although he was not
a Christian, he believed that he had much in common with those who
"When I talk about a more equal and more just society, I think
that speaks for so many Christian traditions. I come to issues of
inequality and injustice not from a Christian background, but I
have a huge amount in common with those who come at those issues
from a Christian background," he said.
He also praised the part played by Christians in battling
poverty and injustice, and specifically mentioned the thousands of
churches involved in Trussell Trust foodbanks. "I share the
Archbishop [of Canterbury]'s deep outrage about the fact that we
are one of the richest countries in the world and we have got such
an epidemic of people in food poverty having to go to
"I pay tribute to the work that volunteers are doing, but I
think the volunteers themselves would say this is a sign of a
society that isn't working," he said. "No, it shouldn't be left to
volunteers to feed people in Britain in 2014."
While he conceded that on some issues the Church and Labour
supporters disagreed, he said that mutual respect for all parts of
the Labour movement was key. "Dialogue and respect - they are my
watchwords when disagreements come up."
He rejected the suggestion that one of these flashpoints was the
question of taking in more refugees from war zones in the Middle
East. Everyone in Britain supported welcoming those fleeing genuine
emergencies, he said, and the issue was totally separate from
concerns over immigration.
"I don't think harshness in relation to emergency refugee
situations should be seen as a proxy for an immigration policy," he
said. "You have got to get your immigration policy right, and you
have got to make sure you uphold our traditions in relation to
He also praised the "tolerance" of the Church of England. Its
comfortable relationships with other religions, he suggested,
mirrored his own vision of a One Nation Britain where those of "all
faiths and none" worked together.