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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 March 2007, 15:09 GMT
Bishop declares anti-Labour vote
Bishop Joseph Devine
Bishop Devine said Catholics should vote according to their conscience
One of Scotland's most senior Catholics has declared he will not vote Labour in May's Holyrood elections.

The Bishop of Motherwell, Joseph Devine, said he now feels many Labour policies, such as civil partnerships, fly in the face of Christian tradition.

He said his congregation's traditional allegiance to Labour had been tested to breaking point.

However, Labour minister Margaret Curran said her party's policies had support across the mainstream parties.

In a BBC interview, Bishop Devine said: "I'll ask Catholics to exercise their vote responsibly according to their conscience.

I can't really understand why he's so focused on the Labour Party holding these views
Margaret Curran MSP

"But I'll do something else for the very first time. I will indicate the party to which I'm going to vote for. I've never done that before.

"I haven't yet seen the party manifestos, but I have a shrewd idea it may have something to do with the Christian Alliance Party.

"I'll not ask people to follow me. If they want to take that lead, that's fine enough."

Ms Curran, the minister for parliament, said she was perplexed by Bishop Devine's focus on Labour.

"Obviously we would respect people of different opinions, but I can't really understand why he's so focused on the Labour Party holding these views," she said.

"The legislation that has been passed, particularly on moral issues around equality and gay adoption, have been supported by many political parties, so it's not just an anti-Labour point."

Bishop Devine said he would vote for the party which best supports Christian values.

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