A Church of England bishop has reported a lay member of the General Synod for alleged “hate crime.”
The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Rev Dr Christopher Cocksworth reported Sam Margrave, 40, over comments he made on Twitter.
The former councillor has been a lay member of the C of E’s governing body for more than ten years. Last year, he put forward a Private Members Motion to the synod, after which he took to Twitter to liken Pride to the “nation’s next Jimmy Savile” scandal.
On Twitter, Margrave has been outspoken about his conservative views on gender and sexuality, prompting the Bishop of Coventry to take action.
According to the Christian Legal Centre – the body supporting Margrave – the synod member was drawing parallels between those that warned of Savile’s behaviour prior to his death and those that speak against the LGBT community, saying both parties were ostracised.
The comments have resulted in significant ill-feeling towards Margrave. He has received numerous images of dead bodies, and is now concerned for his personal safety.
When attending the General Synod in July, Margrave had a panic alarm put on his phone.
The Diocese of Coventry released a statement following the decision to report Margrave to the police.
They said Margrave did not represent the views of the bishop or the diocese and said the “offense caused was a matter of deep regret.”
They continued: “We are extremely sorry when an individual makes comments that fall short of the social media guidelines published by the Church of England and fails to behave in a way fitting of their office as a member of Synod.
“We continue to take all the appropriate action available to us, including reporting the matter to external agencies and are working to introduce a Code of Conduct with sanctions for non-compliance to our own Synod.
“We have not taken these actions lightly and have only done so in view of the sheer number of complaints received from third parties, and only after other avenues have been exhausted, including repeated offers of support to the individual concerned.
“As a Diocese, we believe everyone has the right to feel safe when interacting online.”