Archbishop in Talks to Chair ‘Citizens’ Assembly’ to Stop No-Deal Brexit

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 13: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby speaks during a press conference ahead of Archbishop Philip Freier's inauguration as Primate of Austalia at The Cathedral Chapter House on August 13, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. It is the first visit to Australia by the spiritual head of …
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been criticised for interfering in democracy over plans to chair a “Citizens’ Assembly” aimed at stopping a no-deal Brexit.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby, the head of the world-wide Anglican communion, is liaising with cross-party Remainer MPs to organise consultations next month to come up with alternatives to a clean exit on October 31st, according to The Times.

The proposals would be put to parliament, with the newspaper of record reporting that the the debates would be modelled on the Citizens’ Assembly employed in the Republic of Ireland in 2016 to discuss a range of progressive issues including abortion, climate change, and finding responses to an “ageing population”.

Last year, the Europhile cleric has declared the EU “the greatest dream realised for human beings since the fall of the Western Roman Empire”, claiming the bloc “has brought peace, prosperity, compassion for the poor and weak, purpose for the aspirational, and hope for all its people”, while in 2017, he coupled the Brexit vote with the “fascist tradition of politics”.

In reaction to the planned assembly, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it was “news to me”, adding that the Archbishop had sent him “a very nice letter” where Welby said he wanted to “bring our country together after Brexit had been done”.

Others in the Conservative Party have criticised the Archbishop for engaging in political affairs, with former party leader Iain Duncan Smith saying: “This assembly is designed to destabilise Boris Johnson’s position. As such I hope he will recognise the deeply political nature of this.”

Mr Duncan Smith also said that the symbolism of holding the assembly at Coventry cathedral — the original having been bombed by the Germans during World War Two, thus comparing the “reconciliation” after the Brexit vote to the rebuilding of the cathedral — was “insulting”.

“World War Two saw millions die… It is wrong to think that the reconciliation after the war is anything like what is happening now. It is deeply inappropriate and should indicate that this is highly politically motivated,” he said.

Vice Chairman of the European Research Group Mark Francois added: “It is three years since the referendum result and I suspect the British people are sick and tired of being lectured by politicians about why we should overturn their democratic decision. I suspect they will not be overjoyed by having it rubbed in by the Archbishop of Canterbury to boot.”

The Church of England has been under fire in recent years for attaching itself to progressive social causes, with the Church last year issuing guidance on sex change celebration services and telling its schools to allow children to experiment with their gender.

Figures within the church have also embraced causes such as open borders, with the Bishop of Dover calling on the UK to be welcoming to illegal migrants because “every person is precious”, while a vicar likened fanatical climate change protesters to Jesus Christ.

There has also been recent criticism for how the Church’s holy spaces have been used, with at least two instances of the Islamic call to prayer being recited in cathedrals, while in recent months Norwich cathedral erected a helter skelter and Rochester cathedral set up a mini-golf in their naves in attempts to attract more people to the faith.

Statistics revealed last month that only 38 per cent of Britons identify as Christian, with just one per cent of the young saying they belonged to the Church of England.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.