Church of England Synod votes for BNP membership ban
The General Synod of the Church of England has voted overwhelmingly to back a motion calling for a prohibition on clergy and senior staff being members of the far-right British National Party.
The BNP is seen as one of a range of extreme groups sanctioning dangerous and racist policies, and has tried in the recent past to put on a Christian front.
Previously, Church of England and other church leaders have explicitly called for voters to shun the BNP during recent elections.
The motion was brought by Metropolitan Police civilian worker Vasantha Gnanadoss from the multiracial Diocese of Southwark, which covers south London and east Surrey.
It calls on bishops to formulate a comparable policy to the Association of Chief Police Officers’ ban on police membership of the BNP – and was backed by former Met commissioner Sir Ian Blair, himself an active Anglican.
Ms Gnanadoss said passing the motion would make it “much more difficult” for the BNP or other similar organisations to exploit the claim that they had support within the Church of England.
She added: “If supporting organisations like the BNP is inconsistent with Christian discipleship, it seems obvious that clergy and others who speak for the Church should not be members.”