Law and religion round-up – 16th October

A nerve-racking time for commentators trying to write about events last week, in the likelihood of change before the time one presses “Send”…

… paraphrased from a Tweet that seems to capture the many uncertainties of the week. For the coming week, the timing of the publication of the final IICSA Report on Thursday 20 October has been well trailed by IICSA and others, an event anticipated in the announcement by the House of Bishops that it had commissioned further work on the seal of the confessional – one of the issues likely to be highlighted in the IICSA Report. Last week we posted an Index to links to our posts on the seal from 2014 until the present. 

Political activity and campaigning by charities

On 12 October, the Charity Commission of England and Wales published guidance on Political activity and campaigning by charities. At the same time, the Commission’s Chair, Orlando Fraser, warned that “Charities must never stray into party politics – must never promote, or be seen to promote, a political party or candidate.” The guidance did not prove uncontroversial, and the Commission subsequently had to deny that it was changing the rules.

The point at which campaigning crosses the line into support for a political party can sometimes be extremely difficult to determine; however, it pays to err well on the side of caution. A former member of the Charity Commission’s board, Andrew Purkis, recently asked the Commission (unsuccessfully) to revisit the charitable status of the Institute of Economic Affairs – basically on the grounds that it supported the Conservative party. Continue reading