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Anglicans ‘more likely to vote Tory’

31 January 2014


CALLING the Church of England "the Tory party at prayer" is fair, new research suggests.

Data about religious affiliation and voting habits analysed in a new report from Theos, published on Sunday - Voting and Values in Britain: Does religion count? - suggests that self-identifying Anglicans are consistently more likely to vote Conservative. Statistics from the British Election Survey show that, in the general elections between 1959 and 2010, on average, 47.8 per cent of Anglicans voted Conservative, 35.5 per cent voted Labour, and 15.4 per cent voted Liberal or Liberal Democrat. The data also suggests that those Anglicans who attend church regularly (once a month or more) are historically more likely to have voted Conservative than those who attend less often. Roman Catholics were more likely to vote Labour (54.3 per cent) than Conservative (31.1 per cent), as were those of no religion (43.2 to 32.6 per cent).

Religious affiliation is not the best guide to a person's voting habits. The report notes that "Social class has long been the primary determinant for how votes have been cast at British General Elections in the post-war era." In 2010, 49.1 per cent of "white-collar" Anglicans voted Conservative, compared with 27.9 of "blue-collar" Anglicans.

The report argues, however, that religion does have an effect even after "accounting for other socio-demographic traits which are established correlates of religious orientation, such as age and sex".

The report also explores the relationship between religious affiliation and attendance and values. The data, based on the British Social Attitudes survey, suggests that, compared with Roman Catholics, those of other religions, and those of no religion, Anglicans are the most consistently right-of-centre. For example, 57 per cent agreed that "Ordinary people do not get their fair share of the nation's wealth," compared with 65 per cent of those of no religion, and 75 per cent of other religions.

Attendance has a bearing on these findings, leading the researchers to conclude that "those people who never attend a religious service are more likely to be on the left of the political spectrum". This was true of Anglicans.

The data also suggests that, over the past decade, Anglicans have tended to be most consistently in support of tougher sentencing for criminals, 61 per cent agreeing with the death penalty compared with 56 per cent among those of no religion. Attendance again has an impact: people who never attend a religious service have been most likely to favour the death penalty, compared with those attending frequently.

Curate to stand for Parliament

A CURATE has been selected to stand as a Conservative parliamentary candidate in a by-election in Greater Manchester, writes a staff reporter.

The curate, the Revd Daniel Critchlow (right with his family) has been selected to fight the seat of Wythenshaw and Sale East, left vacant by the death of the Labour MP Paul Goggins.

Mr Goggins, a Roman Catholic and the MP for the Greater Manchester seat since 1997, died earlier this month. In the 2010 election, Mr Goggins won a majority of 7575. Labour is likely to hold the seat, although both the Tories and UKIP are being touted by some commentators as strong challengers.

Mr Critchlow, who is 26 and married with one child, said after his selection: "The hard-working people of Wythenshawe and Sale East deserve a local MP who understands their concerns and will stand up for them each and every day. I do want to pay tribute to Paul Goggins. He was a great local champion . . . and I hope to follow in his example."

Mr Critchlow is an assistant curate at St Hilda's, Firswood. He has been given permission by the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd David Walker, to take annual leave to fight the election campaign.


Forthcoming Events

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Bringing Down the Mighty: Church, Theology and Structural Injustice
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