UK Liberal Democrat candidate disendorsed for religious views

A candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the UK has allegedly been deselected on the basis of his Christian views.

David Campanale, an Anglican and award winning former BBC journalist, was the party’s candidate for the South London constituency of Sutton & Cheam until, as his backers claim,  he was bullied, harassed and ousted following a concerted two year effort by some local party members and LGBT activists because of his Christian views.

Mr Campanale’s backers within the party have urged the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to formally investigate “multiple alleged breaches of equality law and our party constitution”. They claim that the party tolerates a ‘hostile environment’ for people of faith and has emboldened 'those who believe Christians should be driven out of public life'.

The backlash against Mr Campanale is said to have stemmed from his past association with the Christian People's Alliance (CPA), a party known for its opposition to abortion and gay marriage. Despite severing ties with the CPA in 2012, Campanale’s detractors assert that he failed to adequately disclose his religious affiliations during the selection process—a claim he has denied.

Backers of Mr Campanale are alleging that his removal was not due to any misconduct but rather an inability among certain party factions to accept his Christian worldview. 

They contend that the internal complaints Campanale raised over the past two years regarding religious discrimination and victimisation were never properly addressed, necessitating external intervention to ensure justice.

The EHRC is considering the complaint.

Here in Australia, HRLA client Matthew Squires was disendorsed as a candidate with the Liberal Party after comments he made on private discussion forums on social media some years before surfaced. As a result, his employment was subsequently terminated.

HRLA is assisting Mr Squires to take legal action against his former employer, claiming discrimination based on religion and political opinion.