Less than 40% of would-be MPs claim a belief in God
Posted: Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:49
A survey carried out by Whitehouse Consultancy has found that 33% of parliamentary candidates contesting marginal seats describe themselves as atheists.
Just 37% said they believe in God, and 42% of the 225 parliamentary candidates who responded to the survey said they had no religious affiliation.
Only 16% of respondents were members of the Church of England, closely followed by 12% of prospective parliamentary candidates who identified with the Roman Catholic Church.
2% of respondents said they were Jewish; likewise 2% of PPCs each said they were Buddhist and Muslim.
The Whitehouse Consultancy argued that smaller religions are "poorly represented" in the survey results and that they point to a "lack of diversity" in the beliefs of parliamentary candidates.
Chairman Chris Whitehouse commented, "I don't think this is only a question of how candidates are selected. It is also one of how we can encourage more people with a range of beliefs and backgrounds to get involved and be active in politics."
"Given recent findings on Britain's religious beliefs, it's unsurprising that a majority of parliamentary candidates are either non-religious or atheist."
Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, noted that, "while religious minorities may be under-represented, it is worth noting that non-believers are as well.
"Polling shows time and time again that the vast majority of Britons don't have religious beliefs. YouGov polling conducted around Easter found that 62% of people say they are not religious. WIN/Gallup found that Britain is the sixth least religious country in the world.
"There is only an issue with politicians' religious beliefs if they try to force their religious views on to others. The last parliament has seen some politicians using their positions to evangelise, which is wholly inappropriate- particularly given how irreligious society is today."
The Green Party and Labour had the highest percentage of non-religious candidates, at 49% and 48% respectively. 41% of Conservative Party candidates are members of the Church of England.