The government has quietly scrapped the title of “Minister For Faith,” which will now no longer carry a cabinet seat. After some confusion about who actually held the role since the general election in May, a Number 10 spokesperson has finally confirmed it no longer exists.
The role is still described on government websites as: “The minister [who] works with religious and community leaders to promote faith, religious tolerance and stronger communities within the UK.” However, an investigation by Premier Christian Radio has revealed that the government has stealthily retired the title.
In a statement, an official from Number 10 said: “Baroness Williams has responsibility for integration and faith issues. The title of Faith Minister (sic) was a specific one given to first Baroness Warsi and then to Eric Pickles when she left the coalition Government.”
Lady Williams is now in charge of “faith and integration,” in addition to and alongside; so-called travellers’ issues, women and equalities, race equality, local government finance and policy, and High Speed 2 rail link.
The position was created in 2012 for Baroness Warsi, who still describes herself as “the foremost Muslim politician in the Western world.” She promised to put faith back at the “heart of government” and said that the Coalition was “the most pro-faith government in the world.”
She resigned in 2014 in response to government’s “morally indefensible” approach to the conflict in Gaza.
The position was then handed to Sir Eric Pickles, who recently became the chair of Conservative friend of Israel, and once proudly proclaimed: “I’ve stopped an attempt by militant atheists to ban councils having prayers at the start of meetings if they wish. Heaven forbid. We’re a Christian nation. We have an established church. Get over it. And don’t impose your politically correct intolerance on others.”
The President of the National Secular Society, Terry Sanderson, unsurprisingly welcomed the news of the end of the title Minister for Faith:
“Having such a position implied that so-called ‘people of faith’ should be privileged or given privileged treatment. And it would be no better if there were also to be a ‘Minister of no faith’; that would split the population in an entirely unnecessary way. I prefer the French model where the state is blind to citizen’s religion,” he said in a statement.