THE Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, hosted an election
debate for young people at a church in Brighton earlier this
The event, at St Peter's, was set up because Dr Warner feared
that the voices of the younger generation were not being heard
during the campaign.
"I think one of the lessons of the recent Scottish Referendum
was a re-engagement with key political questions among young people
who really got involved in what is, after all, their future," Dr
Warner said. Many of those who attended were eligible to vote for
the first time.
The Salvation Army has recruited six people helped by their
services to promote discussion about the election. Their campaign
"Asking Questions That Matter" features six videos in which
Salvation Army clients question politicians about a series of
These are unemployment, care of the elderly, homelessness,
alcohol, debt, and families. To see the videos, visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk.
Another issue that some Christians have brought to the fore is
same-sex marriage. Coalition for Marriage, a group that campaigns
against gay marriage, has leafleted several constituencies, urging
voters to vote only for candidates who oppose same-sex
The Conservative candidate defending the seat of Totnes, Dr
Sarah Wollaston, branded the Coalition for Marriage "bigots" on
Twitter after they leafleted her constituency to tell voters that
she had voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in
Dr Wollaston said: "Coalition for Marriage are stuffing these
through letter boxes in my area. Thanks bigots, I'm proud of that
Similar leaflets were delivered in constituencies being defended
by the defence minister Anna Soubry and the sole Green MP of the
last Parliament, Caroline Lucas.
The Coalition has also delivered leaflets to support the
re-election campaigns of MPs who voted against gay marriage, such
as the Conservatives Craig Whittaker and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
The campaign director of the Coalition, Colin Hart, said: "The
Coalition for Marriage is fully engaged in the democratic process
by highlighting the voting record of Members of Parliament on the
important issue of the redefinition of marriage."
More church hustings than ever before have been registered on a
special election website run by CARE, the charity said on
Wednesday. About 325 hustings were listed on the site www.engage15.org.uk, up from
293 during the last election campaign in 2010.
CARE's chief executive Nola Leach said: "The Church is playing a
huge and vital role in this election campaign, and, with such a
tight contest, we believe the Christian vote matters more than
However, only 15 per cent of candidates standing in marginal
constituencies at the election call themselves Anglicans, according
to a new survey.
While 41 per cent of Conservative candidates who responded to
the poll said that they belonged to the Church of England, only
eight per cent of Labour candidates, 19 per cent of Liberal
Democrats, 27 per cent of UKIP candidates, and six per cent of
Greens claimed to be Anglicans.
In total, 15.5 per cent of the 225 who answered the anonymous
survey by Whitehouse Consulting said that they were Anglican, which
amounts to fewer than one in six.
Twelve per cent said that they were Roman Catholic. In total, 38
per cent said that they were Christians. Asked in a separate
question whether they believed in a deity, only 37 per cent of
candidates said that they did.
Two-thirds of the respondents were male, and 82 per cent
described themselves as "White British". The chairman of the
Whitehouse Consultancy, Chris Whitehouse, said that his findings
suggested that more work needed to be done to get Parliament to
represent the diversity of the UK.
"I don't think this is only a question of how candidates are
selected. It is also one of how we can encourage more people with a
range of beliefs and backgrounds to get involved and be active in
politics," he said.