Sunday Trading - Update

After much discussion as to what form debating extending Sunday Trading hours will take - it now looks likely that it will be discussed in the House of Commons next Tuesday (17th November). The SNP have now joined the opposition to the Bill, so there is a very real chance of defeating the Government on this issue.

We at Christians on the Left would encourage you to contact your MP if you haven't already done so. You can find a handy tool for doing so here: 

Whilst you are waiting for the Bill to be debated, here are some links which explain the situation as it stands.

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Come Work for Us - Amended Closing date

**Closing date for applications extended to 27th November 2015**


Maternity Cover - Office and Communications Manager

Reports to: Director

Salary:         £18,500 pro rata

Status:         Temporary Contract. 4 days/week

Based:         Labour HQ, Victoria Street, London

This is an exciting position for a dedicated individual with strong communication, administration and book-keeping skills. Working with the Director and the officer group, the post holder will be responsible for the smooth running of Christians on the Left’s office, during our current OCM’s Maternity Leave.

Christians on the Left (formerly The Christian Socialist Movement) is a movement of Christians active in politics to secure change for the common good. It is a socialist society affiliated to the Labour Party. Its membership is around 1600 including clergy, trades unionists, local councillors, local Labour Party activists, people active in their local churches and more than 40 MPs and peers. 

The strategic aims of COTL are:

(a) to be a clear voice for Christian Socialist values to the church, government, media, Parliament and

the wider labour movement;

(b) to educate and resource our members and others engaged in public life and policy debate;

(c) to highlight the spiritual nature of our work and be a spiritual resource for our members;

(d) to be a professional, democratic and efficient organisation in all that we say and do.



The post holder will work closely with the Director and will have good working relations with the officer group and the Executive Committee. The main duties and responsibilities of the job are to:


1. Support the Director in developing the movement, and in supporting the officer group and Executive Committee

2. Assist with the organisation and management of COTL’s work, including conferences and events, meetings of the officer group, Executive Committees and the Annual General Meeting.

3. Run COTL's office

1.1          Manage web-based office system and regularly update the website

1.2          Respond to telephone, email and written enquiries

1.3          Draft letters and reports

1.4          Maintain and update the database of members

1.5          Oversee office resources and merchandise purchases and sales

4. Manage the financial processes of the Movement (with guidance of the Treasurer)

2.1          Process invoices and make payments

2.2          Reconcile monthly statements with membership payments

2.3          Process petty cash each month according to set timetables

2.4          Bank all cheques and cash received

2.5          Set up and administer Direct Debits

5. Provide communications support to members, officers and committee members, particularly through the virtual office system.

The balance of these tasks will be determined by the requirements of COTL at any particular time as decided by the Director. COTL is a small organisation and staff may be asked to share, from time to time, in duties not specifically indicated in their job description.



Please refer to these points when you are making your application.

  • Degree or equivalent education
  • Minimum one year's experience in administration
  • Ability to communicate effectively in writing, verbally and online
  • Interest and/or experience of web-based communications and networking
  • Excellent telephone manner and listening skills
  • Excellent organisational, administrative and time management skills, including an ability to meet tight deadlines
  • Knowledge of legal/financial issues associated with the running of an office
  • Experience of maintaining financial records and budgets
  • Experience of standard office software and accounting packages
  • Experience of payment systems (direct debits, standing orders, online payments)
  • Ability to plan and to work independently and within a team environment
  • Ability to establish effective relationships with members and supporters
  • Commitment to and sympathy with COTL's purpose, vision and values and a general interest in politics
  • Experience of organising events
  • Able to show understanding of the structure of the Churches and the Labour Party and the interests and activities of their members from their engagement and experience



  • Temporary Contract (Beginning at 6 months, with a possible extention)
  • Termination – two month’s notice on either side.
  • Salary £18,500 p.a. (at 4 days/week)
  • 28 hours per week, with time off in lieu for overtime worked
  • Annual review
  • 20 days annual holiday (pro rata) and statutory holidays. Three of these days should be taken between Christmas and the New Year. Holiday may not normally be taken in the period up to Labour Party conference in September or just before the AGM in March

 Please apply to Andy Flannagan, Director, Christians on the Left, (, enclosing your current CV and a letter setting out how you are suitable for the job, referring to your own life experience and the above specification.

For further information about COTL visit

Closing Date: 9am, Friday 27th November 2015 (we will contact candidates that afternoon)

Interviews: Week Beginning 30th November 2015

Start date: Early 2016

COTL is an Equal Opportunities employer and is supportive of flexible working patterns. COTL’s offices are wheelchair accessible. Due to UK law, COTL is only able to employ people who are entitled to work in the EU/UK.

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Jeremy Corbyn seeks longer conversation with Christians on the Left







 Jeremy Corbyn greeted by Andy Flannagan (Director) & Stephen Beer (Political Communications Officer) outside One Church Brighton

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has committed to an ongoing dialogue with Christians on the Left.

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So who is Keir Hardie?


Many of you will have heard Jeremy Corbyn finish his speech today quoting and honouring Keir Hardie. As Christians on the Left and previously the Christian Socialist Movement, we have long celebrated this man whose Christian faith inspired his politics. Here Ian Geary explains...

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Jeremy Corbyn declares support for our Sunday campaign

Jeremy Corbyn, the newly elected Labour leader, has announced his support for the campaign to change Sunday trading laws. At the Labour Party's church service, he wrote about his ideal Sunday, part of a campaign organised by Christians on the Left. Mr Corbyn wrote: "My ideal Sunday is a day of reflection and rest - everybody deserves that!"

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Jeremy Corbyn to join Labour delegates at church service

Jeremy Corbyn will join worshippers at the Labour Party’s conference church service in Brighton on Sunday. The new Labour leader will hear how church groups are campaigning for more action on climate change.

The church service is a traditional Labour Party event at the beginning of the party’s annual conference. The event brings together conference delegates with local church members. The service is organised by Christians on the Left, which brings together Christians in the Labour Party.

Worshippers will hear at first hand how climate change is affecting the world’s poor. After the service, people will be invited to attend a short vigil on Brighton beach.

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Stand up to Osborne’s “Sundays for the rich” - #oursunday

The Conservative leadership don’t seem to understand what the big problem is with the further liberalisation of Sunday Trading laws. There may be a very simple explanation for that. It might not be them or anyone else in their friendship groups who will be affected. It will be people on lower incomes who are already working very hard to hold families together having to sacrifice even more precious time with them. All the many arguments as to why this is a terrible idea are listed in our previous article here, but here is something significant you can do.

You can be part of the fight back with the #oursunday campaign. Simply tweet or Facebook us a picture of you holding a whiteboard/piece of card/fridge door(!) on which you have written how you spend your Sunday. Then include the hashtag #oursunday.

Here we are!


Other phrases you could include are..

 People are more than economic units

Don’t privatise Sunday

Don’t be bullied by the big stores

Retail therapy needs therapy

It’s not just money that makes the world go round

 Then include a link to this article which explains more to those who won’t have heard as yet…

For further reference – here is the link to the Keep Sunday Special website –  

It’s an impressive coalition of agencies such as USDAW (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied workers), ACS (Association of Convenience Stores), NFRN (National Federation of Retail Newsagents), FWD (Federation of Wholesale Distributors), RSA (Rural Shops Alliance), NFSP (National Federation of SubPostmasters) and many Christian churches and agencies alongside other faith groups.

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Leadership candidates in dialogue with COTL/Yvette Cooper

Christians on the Left put the following questions to the Leadership and Deputy Leadership candidates. 

  • What role do the candidates see churches and people of other faiths
    playing in the future of the Labour Party?
  • In line with our campaign would you support full legal separation of
    ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking?

We appreciate the candidates taking the time to respond and their responses are uploaded in the order we have received them. 

Yvette Cooper (leadership candidate) @YvetteCooperMP

I believe that freedom of religion and belief is extremely important. The Labour Party welcomes those of all faiths and those without. All Labour meetings should be inclusive of people of all backgrounds.

Labour can learn from the church about the way the church creates community spirit and unites people of different backgrounds. Both labour and the church can learn from each other better ways to engage the youth. Politics affects the lives of young people just as much as everyone else. From the impact of tuition fees and high levels of youth unemployment, to passions about the environment or international affairs, young people have strong views and concerns and it is important we listen and respond. We simply cannot win back the trust of the British people and get into Government, without bringing young people along with us.

I am continually impressed with the vital work the church and other faith and community groups are doing to help those in need, such as providing food banks and campaigning for Britain to help more refugees.

“In line with our campaign would you support full legal separation of ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking?”

I welcome the campaign that Christians on the left has been running on the issue of damaging speculation in the markets.
We have seen too many instances of morally wrong actions of people playing fast and loose with other people’s money. Speculation that does not see real investment reach the economy can damage the British economy. The church has always played an important role in highlighting such issues and I welcome the role that they and other faith and non-faith groups play in campaigning on issues of such concern.

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Leadership candidates in dialogue with COTL/Liz Kendall

Christians on the Left put the following questions to the Leadership and Deputy Leadership candidates. 

  • What role do the candidates see churches and people of other faiths
    playing in the future of the Labour Party?
  • In line with our campaign would you support full legal separation of
    ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking?

We appreciate the candidates taking the time to respond and their responses are uploaded in the order we have received them. 

Liz Kendall (leadership candidate) @Lizforleader

As you yourselves have said before, the Labour Party’s history is rooted more in “Methodism than Marx”, and people of faith have played a crucial role in our party throughout its history. I’m proud to have the backing of Christians on the Left Chair Stephen Timms in this contest.

One of the greatest issues in British politics in the years ahead will be where power lies in society. I’ve argued throughout this contest that far more power needs to lie in our communities. Decisions taken at a local level are often the best way to secure the best outcomes – Churches, Mosques, Gurdwaras, Synagogues and other places of worship would all have a role to play in those decisions.

Churches, alongside other places of worship, play a vital role in their local communities, and the Labour Party must embrace that and work with them.

In line with our campaign would you support full legal separation of ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking?

Christians on the Left have rightly raised concerns about this – and it’s definitely something that the next Labour leader will have to return to over the coming Parliament.

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Leadership Candidates in dialogue with COTL/Jeremy Corbyn

Christians on the Left put the following questions to the Leadership and Deputy Leadership candidates. 

  • What role do the candidates see churches and people of other faiths
    playing in the future of the Labour Party?
  • In line with our campaign would you support full legal separation of
    ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking?

We appreciate the candidates taking the time to respond and their responses are uploaded in the order we have received them. 

Jeremy Corbyn (Leadership candidate) @jeremycorbyn

I believe faith communities are essential allies in the struggle for a better Britain. I want to create a society embedded in values of fairness and equality, empathy and solidarity. I want a society that better enables us all to realise the innate goodness
inherent in our nature. I know this aspiration is shared as deeply within faith communities. Last year 13 million of our fellow citizens were living in poverty. With the worst of Tory austerity yet to come, that figure is only set to rise.

I know that up and down the country there are people of all faiths and none, on the front line of welfare reform, bearing witness to the pain this government is inflicting on the some of our poorest communities. I want to see more faith leaders publicly challenge this injustice. In speaking out last year against the impact of welfare cuts, the twenty-six Church of England Bishops were standing up for those abandoned by the politicians who should be protecting them. We need unity to stop the damage this government is wrecking and I will stand shoulder to shoulder with all faith leaders to that end. I believe it is wrong that the poorest are being made to pay for an economic crisis that is the responsibility of the richest.

The 'Truth and Lies about Poverty' report produced by the Baptist Union, Methodist Church, Church of Scotland and United Reformed Church was an excellent contribution towards challenging the myth that poverty primarily stems from laziness or poor personal choices. I believe it is wrong too that the language of ‘benefit scroungers’ which accompanies austerity is breeding intolerance and indifference to the suffering of others.  It is an outrage that over 2,300 people have died after their Work Capability Assessment told them they should start looking for work.  When we permit the bullying of the poor and immigrants, it encourages bullies everywhere. A new study claims our children are among them the unhappiest in the world, with widespread bullying a major culprit. Should we be surprised?

Christians on the Left call on us all to ‘love the poor, defend the widow, the refugee and the orphan and stand against injustice - large or small’.  These values are at the heart of the Labour party and ones I share a deep commitment to.  I want to help create a society that strives to leave no one behind, society more socially conscious and responsible, not one in thrall to rampant materialism and selfish individualism. I look forward to working with Christians on the Left, and other faith communities, towards that end.

Your second question asks whether I support full legal separation of ‘casino’ investment banking and retail banking.

I certainly do.

We have learnt the hard way that bankers have short memories. When things are going well, money is cheap and confidence is high, bankers invariably get overconfident and underestimate the risks they face.  It was exactly this recklessness that resulted in banks increasing their lending to 30, 40 or more times their available reserves prior to the 2008, with the disastrous consequences we all too familiar with.  When these issues were examined by the Independent Commission on Banking in 2011 it recommended a ‘firewall’ between bank’s investment and retail sections.  I share the concerns of those, like Christians on the Left, who feel that these measures are too easily circumvented and more rigorous banking reform is required.

The full legal separation between ‘casino’ and retail banking is an important part of a bigger package of banking reform we need to ensure that our economy is never again left vulnerable to actions of the greedy and reckless.

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