Theresa May has hit out at the National Trust for dropping “Easter” from its egg hunt, describing the decision as “absolutely ridiculous”.
The Prime Minister said Easter was “very important” to her and that she didn’t know what the organisation “are thinking”.
It comes as the National Trust Twitter was bombarded with messages on social media from disgruntled members asking how to cancel their membership.
Now the Trust has admitted fault by quietly editing the heading of its webpage for the egg hunt to include the word “Easter”.
Yesterday the website read “Join the Cadbury Egg Hunts”. Following this newspaper’s coverage of the outrage over the event’s rebranded name, it now reads: “Join the Cadbury Egg Hunts this Easter.”
Mrs May was speaking in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, where she is making a trade visit.
Mrs May told ITV News: “I’m not just a vicar’s daughter – I’m a member of the National Trust as well. I think the stance they’ve taken is absolutely ridiculous and I don’t know what they’re thinking about.
“So I think what the National Trust is doing is frankly just ridiculous.”
Mrs May’s comments come after the Church of England has accused the National Trust of “airbrushing faith” after it dropped the word “Easter” from its annual Easter egg hunt.
The annual event, which sees hundreds of thousands of children search for chocolate eggs at National Trust properties, has been rebranded to exclude Easter for the first time in 10 years.
Asked whether he agreed with Theresa May, the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “It upsets me as well because I don’t see why Cadbury should take over the name, because that’s what it’s done, it’s commercialisation gone a bit too far.
“I’m a member of the national trust and I will be buying an Easter egg for my grandson.”
Cadbury, which sponsors the event, said that it wanted to appeal to non-Christians, saying: “We invite people from all faiths and none to enjoy our seasonal treats.”
But last night senior figures in the Church of England condemned the decision.
The National Trust denied it was downplaying Easter and claimed Cadbury was responsible for the rebranding of the egg hunt.
A spokesman said: “The National Trust is in no way downplaying the significance of Easter, which is why we put on a huge number of events, activities and walks to bring families together at this time of year. We work closely with Cadbury, who are responsible for the branding and wording of our egg hunt campaign.”
A spokesman for Cadbury said: “Each year, our Easter campaigns have a different name and this year our seasonal campaign is called the ‘Cadbury’s Great British Egg Hunt’.
“It is clear to see that within our communications and marketing we clearly state the word Easter and include it in a number of promotional materials, including our website, where we do also promote our partnership with National Trust at this seasonal time of year. We invite people from all faiths and none to enjoy our seasonal treats, which can be found around Easter time.”