Bid to arrange meeting with MPs and Bishop of Portsmouth over tax credit reforms thrown out

Have your say

A BID to get the Bishop of Portsmouth to meet the city’s MPs over controversial tax credit reforms has been thrown out.

Lib Dem and Labour councillors wanted Flick Drummond and Penny Mordaunt to meet the Right Rev Christopher Foster as he was outspoken about the cuts in the House of Lords.

Both Ms Mordaunt, who represents Portsmouth North, and Mrs Drummond, parliamentary representative for Portsmouth South, chose not to vote against reducing tax credits – a bid that could take £4.4bn off the welfare bill.

But Portsmouth’s Ukip group did not think a meeting with the religious leader was necessary as they were concerned about the church interfering with politics.

They instead agreed both MPs should reconsider the vote they made, and that was agreed by the majority of the council.

Independent councillor Paul Godier said: ‘I am sick of seeing religious figures sticking their oar into politics.

‘We are here to put people first. But as soon as a religious group stands up to say things about the way things are run, they are not necessarily putting the people first, but the world first.’

Tory council leader Donna Jones said the fastest route out of poverty was through work – and the government has been left with no choice but to drive through austerity measures.

But Labour councillor Yahiya Chowdhury said: ‘We cannot ignore religion, and religious leaders are important to our society.’