News from Europe

British politician falls victim to blatant discrimination for his faith

Over 400 party members have lodged a complaint with the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), accusing the Liberal Democrats of deselecting a candidate based on his Christian faith, which they claim violates equality laws. The complaint also alleges the party has tolerated a “hostile environment” for people of faith.


David Campanale, an Anglican and award-winning former BBC journalist, has been the target of an activist group within the party. This group has lobbied against him since his selection as a candidate in 2021, arguing that he did not sufficiently disclose his faith during the selection process, a claim Campanale denies. They also pointed out that he was a member of the Christian People’s Alliance (CPA) a decade ago.

On May 12, several party members, along with the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum (LDCF), filed a formal complaint with the EHRC. They argue that the party breached equality laws by interrogating Campanale about his faith and subsequently deselecting him as the prospective parliamentary candidate for Sutton and Cheam.

The Telegraph reports that the complaint includes accusations of the party fostering a “hostile environment” for people of faith, failing to investigate serious allegations of discrimination and harassment, and “emboldening those who believe Christians should be driven out of public life.”

A letter to the EHRC, shared with The Telegraph, states: “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.”

The EHRC is currently considering the complaint, which represents over 400 party members.

The incident has raised concerns among other Christian members of the party. In discussions about whether all former CPA members would be “cleared out,” one party member remarked that he “wouldn’t be surprised if the night of the long knives included me.”

Attacks against Mr Campanale began a few weeks after he was named as the Lib Dem candidate two years ago. He reported being ambushed by dozens of local party members who branded him a ‘Christian nutter’ for stating he would “vote with my conscience” on extending the abortion time limit.


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