I thank my right hon. Friend for her sustained and long-term interest in freedom of religion and belief for Christians and people of all faiths around the world. At the Lambeth conference, the Bishop of Chelmsford, herself a Christian refugee from Iran, spoke about the need to challenge some of the darker elements of faith leaders who condone persecution.
In the light of the conclusions of the independent review assessing the implementation of the Bishop of Truro’s report on supporting persecuted Christians around the world, what improvements would the Church like to see in relation to the envoy for freedom of religion or belief? My hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce) has done a wonderful job, but we want to see the post established on a permanent basis, with greater capacity to engage across Government and resources to match.
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for raising an extremely important point. Our hon. Friend the faith envoy, who is in the Chamber, does a fantastic job. I can assure my right hon. Friend that the Church remains completely committed to the full implementation of the Truro review, especially recommendation 6, which is to make the envoy a permanent position with “appropriate resources and authority” to work across Government.
I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) for her question and my hon. Friend the Second Church Estates Commissioner for his answer. The recent independent review of progress on Truro has confirmed that there is more to be done before FORB becomes firmly embedded in the work of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. One area that was highlighted is the need for better engagement with stakeholders, among which the Church is key. Would the Second Church Estates Commissioner be willing to join me to discuss the matter at a meeting with an FCDO Minister, which has been agreed?