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
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
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
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
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