|Headquarters||13 Westmill Road, Hitchin, Herts, SG5 2SB|
|Ideology||Christian democracy |
|European affiliation||European Christian Political Movement|
The Christian Peoples Alliance, CPA is a Christian democratic political party in the United Kingdom. The party was founded in its present form in 1999, having grown out of a cross-party advocacy group called the Movement for Christian Democracy. The first leader of the party was Ram Gidoomal. Alan Craig took over from him in 2004 and resigned in 2012. He was replaced by Sidney Cordle who is the current leader.
The roots of the party can be traced back to a movement founded in 1990 by Christians — both Protestants and Catholics — known as the Movement for Christian Democracy (MCD). It was founded in Westminster at a rally which drew an attendance of 2,000 people, with the motivation of providing an answer to increasing secularism. The three founding members were David Alton, Derek Enright and Ken Hargreaves, who were Members of Parliament representing the Liberal, Labour and Conservative parties respectively. While the tradition of Christian democracy parties was well established in many other parts of Europe, it was not introduced into Britain until the MCD movement of the 1990s.[note 1] The movement existed as a cross-party advocacy group of sorts and although there were rumours in the media of it becoming a fully fledged political party it never materialised.
However, out of the movement its chairman, Dr Alan Storkey, and vice-chairman, David Campanale, led an internal consultation of MCD members that led to the formation of the Christian Peoples Alliance by leading MCD activists in 1999. Elements of proportional representation at local government level, brought about after the devolution of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, saw the party gain confidence. By 2000, Ram Gidoomal had become leader of the party, a businessman and banker who had been appointed a CBE. He had converted to Christianity from Hinduism and is a Briton of Asian background. Gidoomal stood for election for the 2000 London mayoral election. Gaining 98,549 votes at the first attempt, the party surprised some, finishing fifth, ahead of the Greens in first preference votes. The campaign was committed to winning more jobs for Londoners, leading to The Times claiming, based on multiple choice results from a website run by New Statesman: "if Londoners elected a mayor purely on how his or her policies match the electors' views [...] the winner would be Ram Gidoomal". In November 2000, a candidate supported by the Christian Peoples Alliance stood at the Preston by-election, finishing seventh.
Following on from this, the party continued its activities, mostly in London in fairly deprived working class areas like Canning Town in the London Borough of Newham. The Mayflower Declaration laid out the party's values and policies. It was at Canning Town in 2002 that Alan Craig became the first Christian Democrat elected in Britain, as a member of the local Newham council. The party voiced its opposition to the prospect of the Iraq War, deeming it "illegal, unwise and immoral" — a position by which it has stood. After the 2004 London mayoral election, Gidoomal stepped down as party leader to be succeeded by Craig. The party stood members for the 2005 general election with little success, yet a "blind candidating" contest run by BBC's Newsnight programme placed the party manifesto policies second. The party had more success in 2006, gaining two more council seats in Canning Town. In the following year, the party had two members elected at parish council level for Aston cum Aughton in the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham.
In the same year, it also gained encouragement from Scottish Catholic bishops Keith O'Brien and Philip Tartaglia for its social stances, including marriage, rights for unborn children and supporting the Church in the adoption debate. The party also defended the Anglican bishop Michael Nazir-Ali after comments made in the media regarding Islam. The CPA campaigned against the building of Abbey Mills Mosque in West Ham, planned by an alleged radical sect,[note 2] the party stated it was an "unwanted landmark" and would undermine community cohesion. More than 255,000 British people supported the stance in a petition on the Downing Street website. As part of a party pact with the Christian Party, Craig stood for the London mayoral election in 2008 as "The Christian Choice", gaining almost 3% of the vote. This was followed with 249,493 votes at the European Parliament election 2009, 1.6% of the total.
|Year||Name||Period||Time in office||Deputy leader/s|
|2004||Alan Craig||2004 – 2012||8 years|
|2012||Sidney Cordle||1 September 2012 – present||incumbent||Malcolm Martin (5 November 2016-|
The party has campaigned on a range of issues, winning success in 2000 when it organised a petition against government plans to require Asian visitors to the UK to place a £10,000 'bond'. In 2000 and 2004 in London, it put inner-city regeneration and fighting discrimination as its top policy priorities. Its policies to cut energy-use and road congestion through a motorway coach-network won acceptance at government level. Its policies in support of marriage and church schools have become popular currency among secular parties. The CPA has also opposed the reclassification of cannabis, When Craig became leader he introduced policies in favour of linking Christianity to the European Union Constitution, building more church schools and supporting traditional Christian morality. He also has led campaigns backing the UNISON steward at Newham Council who faced disciplinary action; against plans to build London's large casino in Newham, against the Excel Arms Fair; against what he claims are Labour's plans to move local families out of Canning Town in support of yuppie housing. Craig has also campaigned against proposals to demolish parts of Queen Street Market in favour of "non-invasive refurbishment" environment.
The CPA has contested local authority elections at parish, borough, city and county level in London, Glasgow, Sheffield, Leeds, Rotherham, Middlesbrough, Ipswich, Gloucester, Northampton and Suffolk. Since Cordle became leader, the party has focused more on putting up candidates in national elections and developing a comprehensive manifesto covering all issues of concern. The party fought three regions in the 2014 European Parliament elections and they had 17 candidates in the 2015 general election and 31 in the 2017 one, a record number for the party.
The party was involved in the campaign against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 with its leader Sid Cordle speaking at a rally in Trafalgar Square. While the debates were taking place he spoke at a rally outside Westminster.
In May 2014, during the EU elections, under questioning from Andrew Neil on the BBC Daily Politics programme Cordle said that it was possible that recent storms in the UK could have been caused by God, saying, "I think all Christians believe that God does, and can do, things with nature. A lot of Christians believe God is angry over 'gay marriage' and God can show that anger if he wants to."
In May 2017, on the Daily Politics show, Cordle was accused of 'embarrassing' himself and described as a 'bigot' by journalist Owen Jones after claiming that marriage's sole purpose was the procreation of children. Presenter Jo Coburn was forced to ask Cordle to allow Jones to speak on several occasions, however Cordle accused Jones of being 'insulting' and claimed Coburn's reluctance to allow him to respond to Jones as being 'fake news'.
The Christian Peoples Alliance rejects class struggle doctrine and supports a mixed market economy, with an emphasis on the community, social solidarity, support for social welfare provision and some regulation of market forces. The central theme being social justice, responsible charity and an emphasis on "people before profit". Within the Mayflower Declaration the party sets out as goals and desires; providing resources to discourage economic dependency and promote gainful employment. A holistic approach to care, which moves beyond mere financial assistance, as well as help for those in danger of being pushed to the margins of society, like the homeless and disabled. The Mayflower Declaration was updated and reprinted in early 2013 just after Cordle became leader. It now has a new introduction and at the back the policy on Europe was changed from support for the EU to "While we are members of the European Union to work with fellow Christians to seek to bring about moral and democratic reform." It subsequently went further and in its 2014 European manifesto said it wanted a referendum on the EU and that if a referendum was held it would support leaving the EU.
In the 2019 general election campaign, The Guardian reported that the CPA would have 30 candidates and that the party had admitted that its primary ambition was to unseat the pro-choice Labour MP Stella Creasy, who was heavily pregnant at the time. This followed a similar targeting of Creasy in October 2019 by the UK arm of the US anti-abortion group, the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, which had led the police to pass a file to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether its campaign constituted an offence of harassment.
The CPA finished last in the Walthamstow constituency with less than 1% of the vote, losing its deposit.
The party has never won a seat as a Member of Parliament. However, it has won some local government council elections. In Newham London Borough Council, Alan Craig was a councillor (2002-2010), as were Simeon Ademolake (2006–2010) and Denise Stafford (2006–2010). Paul Martin and David Gee were elected to Aston-cum-Aughton Parish Council (2007–2009).
|General election year||# of total votes||% of overall vote||# of seats won||Rank|
|Date of election||Constituency||Candidate||Votes||%|
|23 February 2017||Stoke-on-Trent Central||Godfrey Davies||109||0.5|
|14 June 2018||Lewisham East||Maureen Martin||168||0.8|
|6 June 2019||Peterborough||Tom Rodgers||162||0.5|
|election year||# of constituency votes||% of constituency vote||# of list votes||% of list vote||# of seats won||Rank|
0 / 25
0 / 25
0 / 25
0 / 25
0 / 25
† In 2008 the CPA fielded Joint-ticket candidates with the Christian Party, standing as "Christian Choice"
The party has consistently contested elections to the London Assembly but failed to gain any seats.