News from Europe

Liberal Democrats broke equality laws by deselecting Christian candidate

The dissatisfying report to the Equality and Human Rights Commission declared that David Campanale, a practising Anglican and former BBC journalist, had been rejected by the party "based on his Christian faith".

Local party members and LGBT activists were running campaigns for replacing Mr Campanale, claiming that he had not revealed his Christian faith during the selection process and that he had ties with the Christian People’s Alliance. Apparently one of the members told Mr Campanale: “We had no idea we were selecting another Tim Farron”. Mr Ferron is a former Liberal Democrat leader who was forced to resign after being harassed over his Christian beliefs. 

In response, a complaint has been submitted to the Equality and Human Rights Commission stating that the party has a “hostile environment” for Christians, is discriminatory and “emboldened those who believe Christians should be driven out of public life. This evidence depicts a supposedly liberal organisation allowing clear religious discrimination and hostility to thrive within its ranks. It suggests that Mr Campanale was driven out from his democratically elected position not because of any objective failings or wrongdoing but because a vocal group within SBLD – Sutton Borough Liberal Democrats – refused to tolerate his Christian worldview. Although Mr Campanale has submitted evidence of religious discrimination, harassment and victimisation perpetrated against him to party authorities at all levels over a two-year period, no appropriate action has been taken. We believe that only an external investigation by the EHRC can now secure justice.”

The Liberal Democrat spokesperson denies all allegations on behalf of the party: “The Liberal Democrats are home to people of all faiths and none, including many Christians. Three Liberal Democrat MPs in neighbouring seats to Sutton and Cheam are practising Christians, including party leader Ed Davey, and the party’s candidate selection process is overseen by the Reverend Margaret Jane Joachim.”



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