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Bishop of Bristol: the Church won't tell people which way to vote on Europe

Thu 25 Feb 2016
By Marcus Jones

The Bishop of Bristol has told Premier the Church won't tell people which way to vote in the referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union.

Rt Revd Mike Hill is calling on Christians to think about the long-term when they consider whether to choose to leave or stay in the EU.

The bishop is sitting in the House of Lords this week and while peers are yet to debate the issue, MPs have already had their opportunity to voice their opinions in the House of Commons.

On Monday, the prime minister made his case for the UK staying in the EU - stating British jobs and businesses depend on being able to trade with Europe on a level playing field.

Bishop Mike wants believers to think wider than prosperity when voting.

"I hope that as Christians, and the wider community, we won't get entirely focussed on jobs. Not that that isn't important or that prosperity is a bad thing - it's a factor.

"I think, given the way the European Union has emerged now with human rights legislation and the European charter, given that the final appeal court in legal processes is the European Court - these are quite culture-changing things in light of the decision made."

"I think our starting point should not be short-termist. We need to be thinking about our children and our children's children when we vote."

Bishop Mike said he didn't think it was the role of the Church to tell people what to vote but to encourage them to think wisely.

"I hope we will reframe the conversation in such a way that people don't just make it a short-termist decision for the next five years

"That people don't just focus on models of the future in terms of prosperity but on the kind of society that we really believe in."

Voters get to have their say when the ballot boxes open on June 23rd.

Listen to Bishop Mike speaking to Premier's Political Editor Martyn Eden.

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