Senior MP says Christians forced to hide their faith

Senior Lib Dem MP, Sir Alan Beith, says “silly” interpretations of equality laws are forcing British Christians to hide their faith.

Sir Alan is the former deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats and chair of the Commons Justice Select Committee.

He says an over-zealous application of equality laws pressurises Christians to keep their religious views “under wraps”.


He said: “I think that what a lot of people feel now is that they are being asked to hide their religion, that secularism requires not wearing religious symbols.

“I think that what has arisen is that people feeling that not only does the State have to separate itself from religion under secularism, but they are being asked really to hide and keep under wraps their religious views in civil society.

“Sometimes the completely false interpretation of laws, regulations and changes leads to that happening, when it wasn’t even the intention in the first place – a bit like health and safety.


“You get silly things happening, which were not the intention of any legislative change.”

His remarks echo those of Greg Mulholland, another Lib Dem MP, who says he is concerned by a “dangerous drift” in the party.

Mr Mulholland says there is a growing attitude that Christian views “should be firmly kept out of political arena”.


He added: “If this trend continues, the Liberal Democrats could no longer be seen as a place where people of faith feel comfortable.”

Meanwhile, at the Lib Dem conference in Glasgow one delegate, Callum Leslie, has called for all Lib Dem MPs who voted against gay marriage to be thrown out of the party.

But Alistair Carmichael, the party’s chief whip, said people have a right to free expression and freedom of religion.

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