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Conservative Party London mayoral candidate talks church during lockdown and promises huge Easter celebration if elected

by Marcus Jones

Shaun Bailey should have been in the final stages of his campaign hoping to become the new Mayor of London.

The Conservative Party Candidate is looking to oust current incumbent Sadiq Khan but is now facing a year delay with all elections postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

With campaigning now stopped, he's now using his time to speak to churches and community groups to help them respond to the needs of the capital as it fights against Covid-19.

Speaking on Easter weekend, Bailey, who speaks openly about his Christian faith, told Premier he understands the frustrations of believers not being able to celebrate together in buildings, but encouraged them to look at the bigger picture.

He said: "The good news is Jesus Christ still exists and will exist after lockdown. As Christians we're to love our neighbours, which means keeping them safe, which means holding to the social distancing rules. 

"So do go and enjoy Easter because it is really the demonstration of the Christian belief - Jesus coming again. Easter is something that we must always cherish and really push and I'm excited about Easter even in lockdown."

Bailey says he's enjoyed seeing churches respond creatively during this crisis.

"My own church, for instance, we have been doing Facebook Live, we've done zoom meetings, we've put on children's worship, we put on children's clubs - my children great fun two days ago dancing around the living room virtually with another 20 odd children in their own living rooms, it can still be done. 

"The thing to remember is this is not permanent. This is just for a season. We can worship, pray and thrive in this season as normal."

Shaun Bailey now has another year to pull in support as he attempts to take the seat from current mayor Sadiq Khan. While it may seem like a long time away, speaking from his London home during lockdown, he's already thinking up plans to get London celebrating Easter in years to com.

"Even if we miss it this year (due to lockdown), should I be Mayor of London, the Easter celebration in London will be something the world has never seen in its size, its splendor and it's hope filled nature. 

"I will put on the biggest Easter celebration ever. But of course, right now, the message of Easter is probably more relevant, more potent than it's ever been. We should remember that and prayer makes change."

He's also announcing plans to enable faith groups easier access to buildings to create places of worship, should he become mayor.

"London is home to people of every faith and every denomination," he said. "I dare say no city rivals us for the depth and breadth of our religious landscape - and our city serves as a model to the world.

"But for a city with so much faith, we currently make it too difficult to practise that faith. 

"I would amend the London Plan to include a clause to make it easier for groups to convert buildings to a place of worship. 

"London's strength lies in its values and faith groups do so much year round. It is time that City Hall better recognised that fact."

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