UK Government Quietly Scraps Role of Faith Minister

Pope Benedict XVI speaks with Baroness Warsi during a state visit to London in 2010. (Getty Images)
Pope Benedict XVI speaks with Baroness Warsi during a state visit to London in 2010. (Getty Images)

Responsibilities of the position, held by Baroness Warsi and Eric Pickles in the last government, have been delegated to a Parliamentary Under-Secretary

David Cameron has abolished the government role of faith minister, downgrading the responsibilities for the promotion of religion and interfaith cooperation so they no longer carry a Cabinet position.

After the election, the job remained unfilled, and it has now been announced that its core responsibilities have been passed to Baroness Williams of Trafford, a parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Lady Williams is now in charge of “faith and integration”, in addition to the High Speed 2 rail link, travellers’

issues, women and equalities, race equality, and local government finance and policy.

The position was created in 2012 and given to Baroness Warsi. Her brief was to “work with religious and community leaders to promote faith, religious tolerance and stronger communities within the UK”.

Also a Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, she had the right to attend Cabinet, which Lady Williams does not.

Lady Warsi pledged to put faith back at the “heart of government,” as it was under Churchill and Baroness Thatcher, and said the Coalition was “the most pro-faith government in the world”.

She said: “More often than not, people who do God do good.” As faith minister, she hosted an international summit to draw up plans to end the violence against Christians.

She resigned from the Government in August 2014, over its handling of the Gaza crisis, which she described as “morally indefensible”.

Eric Pickles then took up the role, saying: “It’s a job I take very seriously, but it’s also a source of constant inspiration when I see time and again the contribution of faith to Britain today.”

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SOURCE: The Telegraph
Isabelle Fraser

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