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Archbishop of Canterbury urges Christmas 'ceasefire' in Brexit dispute

by Press Association

Justin Welby called for a "ceasefire" on the use of insults, "personalised attacks" and "pejorative terms" as the process of leaving the European Union continues.

His intervention came after Tory MP Nadine Dorries accused rebel colleague Dominic Grieve of "treachery" after the Government was defeated in a vote on Brexit legislation.

Conservative rebels have also been subjected to intense criticism from pro-Brexit newspapers as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill goes through the Commons.

The Archbishop said: "If we go back 103 years, we find Christmas 1914 there was a ceasefire. It would be very good to have a ceasefire from insult and the use of pejorative terms about people at this time.

"As a country, we have a future ahead of us, we have made a decision about Brexit, that is clear, both sides are saying that.

"How we do that is a question for robust political argument, but there is a difference between disagreeing and personalised attacks - and those have to be avoided.

"If we are going to make a success of Brexit, and it's perfectly possible to do and in fact we should make a success of it - it gives opportunities as well as challenges - then we need a political leadership that is united in their attitude to the future, even if divided on policy.

"Therefore we do need reconciliation and unity."

On BBC Radio 4's Today programme the Archbishop also hit out at tax-dodging firms.

He said: "It is clear that a company that has a turnover of several billion and yet pays only a few million in tax, something isn't quite working there - it's to do with transfer pricing, there's all kinds of explanations.

"But people who earn money from a society should pay tax in that society for the common good, for economic justice."

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