POLITICIANS have been stepping up efforts to woo voters before the General Election on Thursday.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister visited one of the largest Pentecostal churches in Britain — Jesus House, in north-west London — to explain how her vicarage upbringing inspired her career. Mrs May described how her father, the Revd Hubert Brasier, who died in a car crash in 1981, had instilled in her the importance of “treating every human being equally” regardless of their background or problems.
"His job was to serve everybody, and that’s the message that I hope that I have kept with me from my time in the vicarage," she said.
Mrs May was later questioned by Pastor Agu Irukwu, Senior Pastor at Jesus House, on how she would increase the proportion of black and ethnic-minority MPs in Parliament, should she win the election.
"I’ve always said Parliament will make better decisions if it has a greater diversity of people,” she said. “I would hope you would have some young people here in your church who will see being an MP as something they can do to give back to society, and to work actively to improve the lives of others."
Jesus House has also been taking part in Thy Kingdom Come, the global movement for nine days’ prayer before Pentecost initiated for Anglicans by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Jesus House has called its members to 21 days of prayer and fasting around the theme of “restoration”.
Mrs May said that she, too, was focusing on restoration, for Britain. “One of the themes that I felt coming from this church is that of restoration and of hope for the future. We have real opportunities — but we need to grasp those opportunities by working together and having a real unity of purpose and build a better future for everybody.”
Labour launched its own Race and Faith manifesto in Watford, on Tuesday. The party’s plans include steps to improve race relations and ethnic-minority representation in public life, besides tackling hate crime. The mini-manifesto mentions Christianity in a promise to defend the right of all people of faith, including Christians, to wear religious dress.
During an interview on BBC1’s The One Show, on Tuesday evening, Mr Corbyn praised a Church of Scotland minister, the Revd Ian May, also featured on the programme, who had opened a community bank in Leith, in Scotland. “I say ‘Well done, Revd Ian.’ . . . I support our local Co-Op credit union, because it’s a way of helping people get loans who wouldn’t otherwise get them,” he said.
PARing leaders: the representatives of seven parties take part in the BBC Election Debate broadcast live from Senate House, Cambridge, this week
Premier Youth and Children’s Work, a monthly magazine, has collected the thoughts of youth and children’s workers around Britain about what should be top of the new government’s agenda.
The youth and children’s workers’ priorities included mental health, tackling knife crime, unemployment, children’s going hungry during school holidays, family breakdown, and new funding streams for youth work.
The development charity Tearfund was due to hold a hustings on international aid and other develoment issues on Wednesday evening, to push the topic up the election agenda.
The hustings, at Milbank Tower in Westminster, was set to include the Conservative minister David Lidington, the Labour candidate Stephen Timms, and the Liberal Democrat Claire Mathys.
Leader comment; Paul Vallely; Letters