Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe has declared that British society would be “better” if we all followed the Ten Commandments.
Miss Widdecombe said: “What I’m saying is if today, with all the other advances – the modern technology and the medicine and all the great things that we’ve got – if today we still tried to follow the Ten Commandments we would be a better society”.
Miss Widdecombe, who converted to Roman Catholicism in 1993, made the comments during a documentary called Moses and the Law which is part of the Channel 4 series The Bible: A History.
In her opening argument Miss Widdecombe blamed the nation’s current social problems on society’s disregard for the Ten Commandments.
The Tory MP said that the nation’s pursuit of material possessions is a mask for far deeper social problems such as marital breakdown, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, teenage pregnancies and violent crime.
Miss Widdecombe’s call for a return to the Ten Commandments as a basic moral code is based on the view that the nation is in need of guidance.
She said: “Take something like ‘Thou shall not covet’ – we live in a society that is based on covetousness. You covet people’s goods, you covet people’s celebrity, you covet their everything.
“Now, I actually think that we would be a much better society if we were more content. If we didn’t feel a perpetual pressure to keep up with others, we would be a very much calmer, very much more moral society.”
When she was asked if following the Ten Commandments would lead to religious intolerance, Miss Widdecombe replied: “No it doesn’t. I think they [other religions] are wrong. If you tell me you’re a socialist, I will think you wrong. That doesn’t mean I will prohibit you from proclaiming your socialism.
“And that’s what we’ve lost – we’ve lost the capacity to say, ‘you’re wrong’. I can’t say somebody’s wrong without being intolerant? Oh yes I can.”
Miss Widdecombe is not the first to express concern over the erosion of the nation’s moral and Christian heritage.
In 2008 a survey conducted by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation revealed that many Britons felt the nation had lost its ‘moral compass’.
The survey revealed that many British people believe that society lacks common values and is plagued by selfishness, greed, drug and alcohol misuse and family breakdown.
Last July Bishop Michael Nazir Ali said that the turmoil created by the MPs’ expenses scandal came about because of the loss of a moral “touchstone”.
He said: “No wonder everyone has been doing what is right in his own eyes and to their own advantage”.
Last December, a leading education professor revealed that the nation’s primary schools are watering down Britain’s Christian identity for fear of offending other cultures.
Prof Alan Smithers made his comments in light of a Sunday Telegraph survey, which showed that the Lord’s Prayer was no longer being taught in many of the nation’s primary schools.
He warned: “The country is losing its Christian identity. Many schools are not complying with the law relating to spiritual education and I think it is in urgent need of debate.”