The Christian MP Fiona Bruce has been appointed by the Prime Minister as the UK Government’s new special envoy for freedom of religion or belief.
Bruce succeeds Rehman Chishti MP to the role, which was made permanent following an independent review for the Government by the Bishop of Truro – Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen – on persecuted Christians.
Recently, Minister for Asia Nigel Adams told Parliament: “The Prime Minister is resolute in his commitment to freedom of religion or belief”. He also reaffirmed the Government’s “unwavering commitment” to this freedom.
Service and advocacy
In this collaborative role, the special envoy will work to promote religious tolerance abroad, raise awareness of specific cases, and serve as an advocate for the victims of discrimination and persecution for their beliefs worldwide.
Bruce described the opportunity to serve as the Prime Minister’s special envoy as an honour, adding that her post would place her “at the service of some of the most vulnerable people across the world”.
She continued: “Having travelled to countries such as Burma, Nigeria and Nepal and heard first hand accounts of atrocities and persecution being meted out there, I know how much those who are suffering from this appreciate advocacy on their behalf, even from afar.”
The Christian Institute’s Ciarán Kelly welcomed the appointment, calling Mrs Bruce “an exceptional MP who has long championed freedom of religion”.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas added: “This appointment is wonderful news for all who work on freedom of religion or belief.
“Fiona Bruce has been unwavering, courageous and outspoken in championing this fundamental right since she became an MP in 2010”.
In contrast, Humanists UK attacked the appointment as ‘alarming’, citing the long-serving MP for Congleton’s pro-life and pro-marriage views.