Churches encourage politicians to prioritise the common good

On the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament, threeBritish Churches are reminding politicians that they still have aduty to work for the benefit of all people.

With a general election looming, political parties are alreadyfocusing on their campaigns. But the Baptist Union of GreatBritain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church haveexpressed concern that many of the proposals they welcome in theQueen's Speech may not become law because time is runningshort.

Speaking on behalf of the Churches, David Bradwell, Public IssuesPolicy Adviser, said: "Now more than ever we need politicians towork for the common good, and not let party politics and theimminent election distract them from the important work that isbefore them. I hope they have the courage to do what is right, evenif it is not universally popular."

The Churches highlighted key issues in the Queen's Speech such asthe Bribery Bill, which will criminalise the bribery of foreignofficials in order to get business, and the Cluster Munitions Bill,which the churches are urging the Government to make furtherprogress on. They consider the Constitutional Renewal Bill as animportant step towards greater accountability in politics. Thethree Churches have also urged policy makers to focus their concernon those who made little out of the good economic years so that thepublic services they rely on are not cut in the bad years.

"As the General Election approaches, it is a good time for churchesto think about how they can engage with politics and buildrelationships with politicians," added David. "Many churches holdhustings meetings during election campaigns, but the electionshould be seen as the start of a relationship with an MP, and notthe end of it. We have a duty to hold politicians accountable fortheir policies and promises."

Local churches may also be interested to follow the Flood and WaterManagement Bill, which might be amended to allow communityorganisations a discount on water rate tariffs.