Charity Commission acts on complaints in the run-up to the election

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission acted on a variety of complaints relating to charities in the run-up to the election.

The regulator wrote to four charities that appeared among the more than 5,000 signatories of a letter to The Daily Telegraph newspaper in support of the Conservative Party, asking that they "remedy the situation swiftly".

Among the signatories were Keith Dewhurst, chair of Diverse Cymru, William Morrison, centre manager and chair of the East Doncaster Development Trust, Adebimpe Oputa, project manager at the supported housing charity the Marsha Phoenix Memorial Trust, and Uldis Revelins, chair of the Latvian Welfare Trust.

The commission said charities should not put their names to such letters and it would write to the organisations to tell them to resolve the situation swiftly.

Representatives of Marsha Phoenix and Diverse Cymru said that their charities' inclusion on the list had been errors and they had contacted the newspaper to ask for their names to be removed. Morrison said he had not been aware when lending his support to the letter that the charity would be named, and said he would withdraw his name if required. Revelins said the charity's name being placed alongside his was an error resulting from "too much haste in clearing accumulated emails".

The regulator also examined claims that the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church provided campaigning support for Conservative general election candidates and held prayers for a Conservative victory.

The Times newspaper reported that members of the Brethren, who do not vote, had been leafleting for Conservative candidates in key marginal seats and had said prayers for the party's success. A statement issued by the church to Third Sector said it had conducted its own investigation of the allegations and would cooperate fully with the Charity Commission.

After the commission intervened, the National Council of Hindu Temples removed a letter from its website that appeared to urge Hindus and others to vote Conservative. The letter said that the Conservative Party was the only one that had listened consistently to the charity and its concerns about caste legislation.

After the Charity Commission was alerted, an east London mosque - a registered charity – removed a large message from its dome that urged people to vote for a candidate. The slogan "Vote for Hope, Vote Nigel Askew - Reality Party" was painted on the dome of Shacklewell Lane Mosque in Dalston, owned and operated by the UK Turkish Islamic Trust.

Askew is a pub landlord from Ramsgate and was a candidate in South Thanet for the We Are The Reality Party, founded by Mark Berry, better known as Bez, a member of the band Happy Mondays.

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