Labour's new leader commends Christian Socialists

By staff writers
September 27, 2010

Labour's new leader, Ed Miliband, has praised the work of Christian Socialist Movement, one of the party's recognised affiliated bodies.

In one of his first engagements since his election to head up the opposition last week, Mr Miliband, who is a non-believer himself, was speaking at CSM's 50th anniversary reception.

The reception was held after the Labour Party's traditional annual conference church service in Manchester Cathedral, which drew hundreds of people.

He said that the Christian Socialist Movement was at the forefront of Labour's renewal and in particular he highlighted CSM's 'Labour Neighbours' project as a good example of reconnecting the party at the grassroots.

The new leader's comments came as the breakdown of election results showed that CSM members opted for Mr Miliband in significant numbers on the first preference round of voting, the Movement said.

The younger of the Miliband brothers was seen as the 'change' candidate, and took the poll from expected winner David on 1.3% of the vote, after the transfer of first preferences from the other candidates - Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and Diane Abbott.

Both the party's previous leaders and Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, have been CSM members - though this did not stop them adopting pro-war policies opposed by the majority of CSM's membership.

This time there were no Christian Socialist Movement candidates standing for the Labour leadership, in the election which followed the party's defeat at the 6 May 2010 general election and the coming to power of a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Christian Socialism has a long history, and many who use the term are not members of the Labour Party, or left CSM when it agreed to affiliate to the party.

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