Eight MPs are launching a Catholics for Labour group at the party’s conference in Brighton this Sunday.

The group, which says it will focus on social justice and be guided by Catholic social teaching, will be led by Mike Kane, the MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East. He told the BBC that there were 3.8 million Catholic voters in England and Wales and that “Labour will ignore them at its peril”.

“I’ve always seen my politics as inextricably tied to my faith and I truly believe there is a natural connection between Catholicism and the Labour movement,” he said. “My desire to help those who have fallen on hard times all stems from my Catholic upbringing.”

The group will be formally launched with a Mass at St Mary Magdalen Church on Sunday. Alongside Mr Kane, the founding MPs are Keith Vaz, David Crausby, Jon Cruddas, Stephen Pound, Emma Lewell-Buck, Conor McGinn and Andy McDonald.

A spokesman said the group is aimed at those interested in applying Catholic social teaching to public policy, as well as Catholics interested in entering politics in the future.

The founders say in a letter that they have “lofty ambitions”. “We are not about standing still or merely making observations of the world around us,” they said.

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