Persecution raised at Prime Minister’s Questions

Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford) (Con):
Christians and others are being murdered for their faith in Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and many other countries. Elsewhere, it is a crime to believe anything other than what the state sanctions. Does my right hon. Friend agree that our United Kingdom stands, above all, for freedom of speech, thought and belief, and that we must do all in our power to protect the persecuted and stand up to the persecutors, whoever they are?

The Prime Minister:
I very much agree with my hon. Friend; he is right to make this such a cause, and to pursue it in the House and outside it. Britain has a proud record of political and religious tolerance—and, of course, of freedom of speech. In our dealings with other countries, we should always make it clear that we believe that to be the right approach. There is an appalling amount of persecution of religious minorities around the world, and some now say that Christians are more persecuted than other religions in too many countries, some of which my hon. Friend has named. We should make sure that this key issue of religious tolerance is at the heart of our foreign policy.

19 November 2014