Sometimes Atheism UK Council Members get requests to speak on radio and in University debates (I’ve spoken twice at the Cambridge Union and will probably speak at Bath University this November). We also speak to schools about atheism – we will be speaking to an independent school in central London in September. This time we’ve been invited to talk to Voice of Islam radio about the ‘Meaning of Life’.
A Whitehouse Consultancy April 2015 survey found that 34% of 225 prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) contesting marginal seats describe themselves as atheists. More than four in ten PPCs (42%) have no religious denomination. The Green Party (49%) and Labour (48%) have the highest percentages of atheist candidates.
Fewer than four in ten (37%) of PPCs believe in a deity: 16% Church of England (of these, 41% were Conservatives), 12% Roman Catholic, 2% Jewish, 2% Buddhist, 2% Muslim and 3% other religions.
Chris Whitehouse, Chairman of the Whitehouse Consultancy, said:
“Given recent findings on Britain’s religious beliefs, it’s unsurprising that a majority of parliamentary candidates are either non-religious or atheist.”
Chris Street, President of Atheism UK, noted that:
“The April 2015 Whitehouse report does not identify individual PPCs.
After the last general election in June 2010, Atheism UK wrote to all 650 MPs about their religious beliefs. We asked ‘Are you Atheist, Agnostic, Religious (practising), Religious (lapsed) or Other?’. Only six of the twenty six MPs that responded said they were currently atheist. Atheism UK report suggested that ‘openly stating ones religious beliefs in the world of politics, where votes count, is still a delicate subject’.