Bishop of Coventry asks Government about plans for promoting freedom of religion and belief

On 18th April 2018 Lord Suri asked Her Majesty’s Government “what director level staffing changes, if any, they intend to make in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to provide greater capacity for that department to co-ordinate, oversee and deliver policy to advance freedom of religion and belief.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow-up question: 

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, following on from that question, the Minister will be aware of the gathering at Lambeth Palace at the moment convened by my most reverend friend the Archbishop of Canterbury, which is bringing together parliamentarians and religious leaders from across the Commonwealth to help them work on good local practice. Would not the sort of director-level appointment mentioned in the Question ​to increase capacity help Her Majesty’s Government to partner with such initiatives to take them on to the next stage and provide co-ordination across the Commonwealth?

Baroness Stedman-Scott: I congratulate the Church on hosting today’s meeting with people from across the Commonwealth and I am sure that they will gain much from it. When I was the chief executive of a charity and people asked for resources, I used to say, “I get the message”, so I get the message on a director-level appointment. The only thing I can confirm to give any comfort at this point is that we are actively reviewing the need for such a post.


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