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David Campanale head shot.png
World News

Bishop of Winchester tweets support for sacked Christian Lib Dem candidate

by Donna Birrell

The Bishop of Winchester has given his support to a Christian who was removed as the Lib Dem candidate for Sutton and Cheam.

Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen who is one of the five most senior bishops in the Church of England  tweeted that the deselection of former BBC and Premier journalist David Campanale “ on the grounds of his beliefs alone is shockingly illiberal. On this basis Gladstone wouldn’t have been allowed to stand in Sutton and Cheam.”

Mr Campanale, who has pioneered reporting of the persecuted church including the recent unrest in the Indian state of Manipur, spent eight years as a Lib Dem councillor in Kingston, south London, becoming vice-chairman of the constituency association of Sir Ed Davey, the current party leader. He was elected as the prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) for Sutton and Cheam in January 2022. He had previously fought the 2019 General Election for the party against Kwasi Kwarteng in Spelthorne.

He claims he was deselected as a PPC because of his faith and has previously told Premier he had been bullied and harassed because of his Christian beliefs.

In a letter to supporters, Toby Price from the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum (LDCF) wrote : “David gave up his job as a BBC reporter, to take on the role of PPC and try to win a winnable seat. You can understand how upset he would be, having been subject to a deselection process (he is still going through appeals, so we cannot comment further) and then watching while no action is taken about the allegations.

“This alleged bullying and discrimination followed shortly after a tweet… which drew attention to David’s past affiliation with the Christian People’s Alliance after his selection. David properly disclosed this information to the PPC selection panel before his Sutton and Cheam selection and the Party allowed him to join the pool of prospective candidates, enabling him to stand in Sutton and Cheam, where of course, he won.”

The LDCF, which represents around 400 Christian activists within the party is urging the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to carry out an independent investigation into “multiple alleged breaches of equality law and our party constitution”.

The Lib Dems have dismissed the claims and say all their London MPs including leader Sir Ed Davey are practising Christians. While an appeal is ongoing on the issue the party says it cannot provide details.

Christian peer, Lord Alton also signed a petition calling for Mr Campanale’s reinstatement. The former Liberal Democrat chief whip said the behaviour of the Liberal Democrat party was “neither liberal nor democratic”.



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