Former Cabinet Minister Ruth Kelly says that British politics has become so secular that religious views are pushed to the sidelines.
Speaking just days after her resignation from the Cabinet, Miss Kelly told interviewers: “It is difficult to be a Christian in politics these days.”
She continued: “The public debate has become more secular and believers are portrayed as a bit odd.
“That doesn’t reflect the reality in communities, where churchgoing and belief is considered normal.”
Speaking to The Times newspaper, she added: “People set up this big conflict between reason and faith. I don’t believe that it exists. I think that faith is completely rational.”
She said that politics is “much the poorer” for pushing religion to the margins because “you want people who believe in things to go into politics”.
Miss Kelly resigned from the Cabinet in September amid rumours that she was struggling to reconcile her Roman Catholic beliefs with measures in the Government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.
She has now announced that she will step down as an MP at the next general election.
Miss Kelly has denied that the embryos Bill prompted her departure, instead citing a desire to spend more time with her family.