Mr Heseltine responded aggressively to leaked details of a major report sponsored by the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland, which accuses politicians of abandoning the poor. It will be seen as a scathing attack on 18 years of Conservative rule.
Speaking on BBC Radio's Sunday programme, Mr Heseltine said: "I think it's perfectly legitimate for them to express a political view," he said. "But I have one warning - that if they trespass on the field of politics then they will get as good as they give".
The Church report, which is due to be published on 8 April, warns: "In the British general election campaign, the political parties are competing for votes by promising lower taxation. When so many are living in poverty and unemployment, it is wrong to give priority to the claims of those who are already well off." The report is believed to recommend a minimum wage and cuts in employer National Insurance to boost private-sector jobs.Reuse content