The Charity Commission has contacted the controversial church SPAC Nation “as a matter of urgency” after concerns were raised about it allegedly supporting a political candidate.
Accounts of pastors financially exploiting young people in the congregation, encouraging them in some cases to take out significant loans, were revealed in a HuffPost UK investigation into the pioneering church on Friday. Now it has become apparent SPAC Nation face further questions over reported political campaigning.
Under Commission rules, charities are not permitted to take part in any political campaigning on behalf of a party.
Steve Reed, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Croydon North drew attention to SPAC Nation’s alleged involvement with political campaigning, tweeting a screenshot from the church’s lead pastor Tobi Adegboyega which appears to show members canvassing for Conservative council by-election candidate Jayde Edwards.
And Labour MP for Croydon Central, Sarah Jones, said she had contacted the Charity Commission regarding “safeguarding” and “allegations of financial fraud”.
Jones also urged anyone with “concerns or evidence” to come forward.
A spokesperson for the Charity Commission confirmed they had been in touch with Jones, and said they were “aware of concerns” around the charity: “Charities have a proud record of engaging in public debate and speaking up for the causes they serve. However, they also have a responsibility to do so within the rules.
“The public expects charities to be driven by their purpose and to represent their beneficiaries at all times. Charities must not engage in party political activity.
“We are aware of concerns about a tweet linked to the charity SPAC Nation, which appears to support a political candidate. We will be contacting the charity on this issue as a matter of urgency.”
Responding to HuffPost UK during our investigation, prior to today’s statement from the Charity Commission, a spokesman for SPAC Nation said the commission “has the right” to ask questions.
The spokesperson said: “The Charity Commission has the right to ask questions about things that they don’t understand but let me assure you that every question that we’ve been asked by the Charity Commission has been
adequately answered and if they had more we would be happy to answer them as well.”