Can Tories be Christians?

Click to follow
The Independent Online
TONY BLAIR, the Labour leader, has provoked angry criticism over comments which imply that Conservatism and Christianity are incompatible, writes Stephen Castle.

The row erupted over an article in which the Opposition leader said his view of Christian values led him to oppose the narrow self-interest represented by Conservatism - "particularly its modern, more right-wing form".

David Wilshire, a Conservative MP and convenor of the Methodist Fellowship at the House of Commons, said he was "very offended" by Mr Blair's remarks, which were "deeply hurtful" to many Christians. The Labour leader was "wearing God on his sleeve".

In today's Sunday Telegraph Mr Blair writes that he is not pretending to be any better or less selfish than anyone else, or saying that Christians could only vote Labour. "But Tories, I think, have too selfish a definition of self-interest," he adds.

"They fail to look beyond to the community. That is the essential reason why I am on the left rather than the right."

Labour sources played down the comments, stressing that Mr Blair had not said Christians should be Labour supporters. Tories claimed that Mr Blair had clearly suggested as much.