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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 April, 2004, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Bishop urges voters to reject BNP
A senior Church of England bishop has written to churchgoers warning that "apathy and complacency" could hand victory to the BNP.

The Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Right Reverend Alan Smith, urged people to vote in June's European elections.

Writing in the May edition of parish magazine LINK, the Bishop said people had an obligation to use their ballot.

He said the alternatives to democracy could be "frightening".

'Political agenda'

The LINK magazine insert, produced by the Diocese of Lichfield, was handed out to churchgoers on Sunday in the Lichfield area.

Bishop Smith said: "As part of our duty towards one another, it can be argued that we have an obligation to vote.

"Whilst we are all aware of the frustrations of the political process, the alternatives to democracy can be frightening, as we are constantly reminded by events in the Middle East."

He added: "When a political party stands for something that is contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ, then Christian leaders have an obligation to speak out."

The Bishop finished his letter by saying: "As we approach the elections next month, we need to confront any political agenda that is driven by fear.

"The British National Party's strongest allies are apathy and complacency."

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