Bishops receive death threats over Dominic Cummings criticism

Top aide Dominic Cummings(Photo: Reuters)

Bishops in the Church of England have reported receiving death threats after they spoke out against government aide Dominic Cummings. 

The Prime Minister has come under pressure to fire Cummings over reports that he broke lockdown rules by travelling to Durham. 

The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Rev John Inge, was among several bishops who publicly criticised Cummings and the Government's response.

The bishop revealed on Twitter that he had received a threatening email telling him to "stay out of politics or we'll kill you". 

The bishop was defiant, though, saying in response to the threat: "For me the whole Cummings drama is not about politics but life and death. If trust in Government guidance is eroded we'll have a second spike and 1000s of lives will be lost." 

A number of people have spoken out in support of Bishop Inge following the threats.

Former MP Margot James tweeted: "Expressing my support for @BishopWorcester who is a wonderful man who should be free to express his view and moral leadership without threats to his personal safety."  

The Archdeacon of Worcester, Nikki Groarke, posted: "Proud of my colleague @BishopWorcester for speaking out on this important issue (despite death threats), influencing local leaders who respect him. He reminds us that this is a matter of life & death, not party politics, & that Jesus spoke truth to power and challenged injustice."

The Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Rev Helen-Ann Hartley, and Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Rev Christine Hardman, revealed on Twitter that they had received similar death threats. 

"'Stay out of politics or it will be the death of you' was one of the emails I received today," Hartley tweeted.

"Thank you to those who have sent supportive messages."

She said she has reported the email to police. 

Hardman tweeted that she was praying for the person who sent her the death threat.

"I too received such an email," she wrote.

"I feel concern for the person who sent it and will hold him or her in prayer."