THE ARCHBISHOP of York has become embroiled in a row with chocolate giant Cadbury and the National Trust over an Easter egg hunt.

Dr John Sentamu accused the chocolate giant of “spitting on the grave” of its religious founder by removing references to Easter from the Egg Hunt it runs nationwide with the conservation charity.

His opinion has been echoed by Prime Minster Theresa May, who condemned the decision as "absolutely ridiculous".

Cadbury, which was founded by Quaker John Cadbury in 1824, told the Daily Telegraph “we invite people from all faiths and none to enjoy our seasonal treats”.

Dr Sentamu told the Daily Telegraph: “If people visited Birmingham today in the Cadbury World they will discover how Cadbury’s Christian faith influenced his industrial output.

“He built houses for all his workers, he built a church, he made provision for schools.

“It is obvious that for him Jesus and justice were two sides of the one coin.

“To drop Easter from Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt in my book is tantamount to spitting on the grave of Cadbury.”

The National Trust said that suggestions it was downplaying the significance of Easter were “nonsense”.

Some 300 Easter egg hunts will take place this year at National Trust properties, according a page on the Cadbury website headlined “enjoy Easter fun”.

A National Trust spokesman said: “A casual glance at our website will see dozens of references to Easter throughout.

“Our Easter events include our partnership with Cadbury’s, which has been running Easter egg hunts with us for ten years."

A Cadbury spokeswoman echoed the trust’s denial.

She said: “It is simply not true to claim that we have removed the word ‘Easter’ from our marketing and communication materials."

Speaking from Jordan as part of her Middle Eastern tour for talks over security and trade, 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 have taken is absolutely ridiculous. I don't know what they are thinking about, frankly.

"Easter's very important. It's important to me."