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Govt's religious freedom envoy meets with Bishop of Truro and asks Johnson about his commitment to issue

Tue 15 Oct 2019
By Cara Bentley

Rehman Chishti MP has met with the Bishop Philip Mounstephen and asked the Prime Minister whether he is going to prioritise religious liberty.

The Conservative MP for Gillingham and Rainham and new special envoy for the Government on Freedom of Religion and Belief (FORB) raised the topic of religious freedom in a brief exchange on Monday in the House of Commons when MPs were debating the Queen's speech.

He said: "Britain is respected around the world for the values it stands up for. One of them is freedom of religion or belief. This is not mentioned in the Queen's speech.

"Yesterday, parliamentarians from across the House, led by His Royal Highness Prince of Wales, were at the Holy See for the canonisation of Cardinal Newman. Can the Prime Minister confirm that religious freedom will always be a key priority for our government?"



Prime Minister Boris Johnson replied: "I thank my honourable friend for everything he does to promote religious freedom around the world and I can certainly give him that assurance and we will stand up for religious freedom in all our doings and in all our foreign policy."

On Tuesday, Mr Chishti met other MPs concerned about the issue (Eddie Hughes, Mauria Caulfield, Andrew Lewer, Sarah Newton and Victoria Prentis) to discuss how to implement the recommendations of the Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen's report into the response of the Foreign Office to religious persecution.

Mr Chishti also met the Bishop of Truro on Monday for tea in the Houses of Parliament to hear more about his recommendations.

The Bishop wrote on Twitter that the Government’s special envoy was implementing them "with such commitment and energy".



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