Politicians who voiced support for free speech in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack should now work to protect Christians, Conservative Peer Lord Tebbit has said.
Lord Tebbit said he hoped politicians would avoid being “narrow minded” and not deny people the “right of free speech they demand”.
Last week, in comments praised by Lord Tebbit, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said “in a free society people have to be free to offend each other”.
But the former cabinet minister and Chairman of the Conservative Party also said that politicians should now “see what more can be done” to help Christian street preachers and guesthouse owners.
In 2013 Peter and Hazelmary Bull lost a Supreme Court appeal after being sued for their policy of only allowing married couples to share a double bed.
And last year Christian street preacher John Craven received £13,000 compensation after being wrongfully arrested by police.
Both cases were supported by The Christian Institute.
Writing on the Telegraph’s website, Lord Tebbit said Nick Clegg’s comments were ‘brave and right’.
But he added that he hoped senior politicians “will now see what more can be done to prevent Christian preachers being threatened with prosecution for reading the Bible aloud in the street, or Christian guesthouse proprietors who believe that homosexual sex is a sin being prosecuted for refusing to let double bedded rooms to homosexual couples”.
“Indeed, I hope that Mr Clegg (and others) will now come out as liberals, rather than rather narrow minded opportunists eager to deny their opponents the right of free speech they demand for themselves”, he concluded.
In his article, the leader of the Liberal Democrats commented: “The freedom that allows someone to criticise an idea – even a religious idea – is the same freedom that allows others to promote it.”
“This is the bottom line: in a free society people have to be free to offend each other.
“There is no such thing as a right not to be offended. You cannot have freedom unless people are free to offend each other”, he added.