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Bishop of Barking's election plea

PUBLISHED: 18:10 29 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:46 11 August 2010

THE BISHOP of Barking has waded into the London mayoral elections by urging Christians not to vote for the British National Party. The Right Reverend David Hawkins issued the plea in a statement read out in churches on Sunday. In it he warns parishioner

THE BISHOP of Barking has waded into the London mayoral elections by urging Christians not to vote for the British National Party.

The Right Reverend David Hawkins issued the plea in a statement read out in churches on Sunday.

In it he warns parishioners that voting for the far-right party will put healthy race relations 'into reverse.'

His comments come before elections for the London Mayor and London Assembly which take place tomorrow (Thursday).

In his statement Right Rev Hawkins said: 'It is a Christian duty to vote, not least in these elections where as little as five per cent for the BNP could give it a seat on the London Assembly.

'Whoever else we vote for we must stop racist politics making gains in London and elsewhere.

'Each vote for the BNP will put into reverse the patient, strategic work of healthy race relations and social integration that is developing in out London boroughs, Essex, and elsewhere in the country.

'We are members of one human race. We must vote for it in the ballot box.'

Council Opposition Leader, Cllr Richard Barnbrook said: "I think this is really quite crude. I don't see what position the bishop is in to try and determine how the vote should go.

"Searchlight discovered two years ago that it was counter-productive to try and tell the people of Barking and Dagenham how to vote.

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