Protesters at St Paul’s should go, says bishop

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The Bishop of London has stepped into the row over campaigners camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral, saying it is “time for the protesters to leave”.

Anti-capitalist protesters set up tents outside the cathedral 11 days ago.

Richard Chartres, the third most senior cleric in the Church of England, said: “This demonstration has undoubtedly raised a number of very important questions.

“The St Paul’s Institute has itself focused on the issue of executive pay and I am involved in ongoing discussions with City leaders about improving shareholder influence on excessive remuneration.

“Nevertheless, the time has come for the protesters to leave, before the camp’s presence threatens to eclipse entirely the issues that it was set up to address.

“The Dean and the Chapter, who are responsible for St Paul’s, have already made it clear that the protest should come to an end and I fully support that view.”

His comments came as Occupy London Stock Exchange denied suggestions that 90 per cent of the tents were left unoccupied overnight.

The group said of the claims: “This is simply not the case. We try to keep vacancy to a minimum and operate a sign in/sign out system to help ensure this happens.

“When someone knows they will not be staying overnight, they offer their tent to someone else.

“We are ordinary people with jobs and families. We are occupying in order to register our objection to being shut out of the political process.”

According to City of London councillor, Matthew Richardson police used infra-red images to establish that only 10 per cent of protesters were staying at the camp overnight.

He said he had spoken to a constable but a spokesman for City of London Police said: “We’ve not been commenting on numbers and obviously that won’t be changing.”

Independently-commissioned photographs from thermal imaging cameras were published in some newspapers, apparently showing unoccupied tents.