Labour ‘must attract religious voters’

By staff

Labour needs to attract religious voters to help it win the general election, a Cabinet minister will say today.

Jim Murphy, Scottish secretary, will call for religion to play a greater role in British politics at the next election at a lecture tonight.

The comments entirely contradict the previous Labour approach to the subject, typified by former director of communications Alastair Campbell when he remarked: “We don’t do God.”

Comment: Ban faith schools

Mr Murphy will argue that Labour support was strongest among religious people at the 2005 general elections and that faith-based values have always been at the “foundations of the Labour party”.

“In the US, faith has long played a central part in politics. Not surprising for a country where 60% of people say that God plays an important part in their lives,” he will say.

“But it’s wrong to think that it plays no role in British politics.

“Faith voters massively outweigh ‘Motorway Men’ or ‘Worcester Woman’ or any other trendy demographic group identified by marketeers.”

During a debate on the role of religion after he left Downing Street, Tony Blair, a committed Catholic who now operates a faith foundation, said he was afraid of discussing his faith because he might be branded “a nutter”.

Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader, is an avowed atheist, although his Spanish wife is Catholic and his children go to a Catholic school.

Tory leader David Cameron admits to believing in God but was quick to rule out the idea of the almighty giving him political guidance.