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Political Neutrality in Positions of Faith

Volume 698: debated on Wednesday 30 June 2021

What discussions he has had with representatives of the Church in Wales on political neutrality in positions of faith. (901795)

I have recently been corresponding with the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding the Bishop of St Davids’ ill-advised and divisive comments on Twitter. I am sure we all agree that our religious leaders should promote tolerance and inclusiveness, and I am pleased that the Church in Wales has apologised for the bishop’s intemperate language.

I am very supportive of the actions taken by the Secretary of State involving the Bishop of St Davids, but does he agree that this issue of intolerance towards those who hold Conservative views is becoming more widespread throughout academia and public life, and that we need concerted efforts to address this?

As my hon. Friend knows, it appears that this sort of trolling habit is, sadly, not exclusive to the bishop; Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones has also been busy dishing out abuse, with his most recent contribution being to describe Conservative voters as the “lowest form of life”. I cannot help but ask what the professor would have done and how he would have reacted if any of our colleagues had described university academics as the lowest form of life. It would have been as outrageous for him as it is for us, and I very much hope that Cardiff University will follow the example of the Archbishop of Canterbury and deal with this promptly.