May 26, 2020 Faith Matters

Police examining reports of bishop threatened online over Cummings comments

Police are looking into reports a bishop was threatened online after speaking out on Downing Street adviser Dominic Cummings’s alleged breach of lockdown rules.

Helen-Ann Hartley, the Bishop of Ripon, reported the matter to North Yorkshire Police as some of the Church of England’s most senior figures reported receiving hate mail and death threats.

Bishop Hartley posted: “‘Stay out of politics or it will be the death of you’ was one of the emails I received today. Thank you to those who have sent supportive messages.”

She had earlier written about missing her father’s birthday during the lockdown as he recovered from radiotherapy.

Bishop Hartley said she was “following up” the hate email with police.

On Tuesday, North Yorkshire Police said in a statement: “A complaint has been made to North Yorkshire Police and inquiries are ongoing into the matter.”

Bishop of Worcester John Inge tweeted that he received an email, warning “stay out of politics or we’ll kill you” after he criticised Boris Johnson’s “risible defence” of Mr Cummings on Sunday night.

Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle, wrote: “I too received such an email. I feel concern for the person who sent it and will hold him or her in prayer.”

The previous night she had posted that she was “deeply troubled” by the Prime Minister’s defence of his adviser.