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MPs to launch ‘Catholics for Labour’ group at party conference

A delegate wears a red rosette during the 2015 Labour Party Conference (Getty Images)

Eight MPs are launching a ‘Catholics for Labour’ group at the party’s conference this coming Sunday.

The group, which says it will focus “social justice” and be guided by Catholic social teaching, will be headed by Mike Kane, the MP Wythenshawe and Sale East.

He told the BBC that there are 3.8 million Catholic voters in England and Wales and “Labour will ignore them at its peril”.

“I’ve always seen my politics as inextricably tied to my faith and I truly believe there is a natural connection between Catholicism and the Labour movement,” he added. “My desire to help those who have fallen on hard times all stems from my Catholic upbringing.”

The group will be formally launched with a Mass at St Mary Magdalen Church on Sunday. Alongside Mike Kane, founders include Jon Cruddas, Keith Vaz, David Crausby, Stephen Pound, Emma Lewell-Buck and Conor McGinn.

A spokesman said the group is aimed at those interested applying Catholic social teaching to public policy, as well as Catholics interested in entering politics in the future.

The founders say in a letter that they have “lofty ambitions”.

“We are not about standing still or merely making observations of the world around us. Our hearts and minds are firmly focused on social justice and guided by the teaching of the Catholic faith we will work together to actively shape that world and prepare members for a life in public service.”

The group’s launch will be seen as an attempt to win back working-class Catholic voters, who have been drifting away from the party over the past few decades.

Working class Catholics voters traditionally supported the Labour Party throughout the 20th Century. The party once received 80 per cent of the Catholic vote in Scotland, and led the Conservatives by 40 per cent among Catholic voters across Britain.

However, that lead shrank to just two per cent at the last election, while more than half of Catholic supporters in Scotland have abandoned the party for the SNP.