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World News

A Hindu Prime Minister will be a symbol of Britain's religious freedom says Evangelical Alliance

by Donna Birrell

Rishi Sunak is to become Britain's first Hindu Prime Minister. When he was Chancellor he lit a candle on the steps of 11 Downing Street to mark the festival of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, which began on Monday. 

Sunak's rise to the premiership has already made it to the front pages of most Indian newspapers - alongside the Indian cricket team's win over arch-rivals Pakistan in a T20 World Cup match late on Sunday.

Danny Webster, director of advocacy at the Evangelical Alliance told Premier Mr Sunak's appointment would reflect Britain's diversity: "I think it's important actually to recognise that as a nation, we celebrate freedom of religion and belief. I think it's important that we're able to recognise different people's religious beliefs and how they practice it. I also think we should be encouraged that people are free to practice different beliefs, but in the same way, that we should stand for the freedom to practice our own."

There are calls for a period of "quiet, stable government" as Rishi Sunak looks set to become Britain's Prime Minister.

Christian Conservative MP John Glen who has known Mr Sunak since 2014, has said he believes he has the integrity, drive and intelligence to restore the UK's reputation after the political and financial turmoil of recent weeks. 

The MP for Salisbury told Premier: "I'm concerned for the well-being of the country and that frustration and bewilderment and also uncertainty brings people to a bad place. I'm very anxious to get beyond this uncertainty and get a new Prime Minister in place. I think what most people, most Christians in particular want, is quiet, stable government that looks after the most vulnerable and that doesn't get in the way of people's lives. 

"I've got the highest regard for Rishi. He is someone with utter integrity, he works flat out and he's incredibly intelligent. He's very personable, he's very thoughtful. He's very kind to the people that he works with. You always feel comfortable in his presence. You always feel that he's got a grip of the situation, but he's looking at everything with the right motives, the right intentions and he has a great deal of integrity in the way he handles himself personally. I am very, very respectful of Rishi. I rate him professionally, but I rate him as a character and somebody who I can completely commit to.

"We've done a lot of damage to our reputation globally. So it's very important that we do bring stability as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, Christian Labour MP Stephen Timms said he believes that although Mr Sunak is a more "sensible choice than bringing back Boris Johnson", there should be a General Election. 

"It is a huge challenge following the disastrous mini budget that Liz Truss introduced a few weeks ago, which has caused, unfortunately, lasting economic damage" he told Premier. 

"We're going to be struggling with the legacy of that for quite a long time. The irony of course is that Rishi Sunak warned about this in the leadership contest over the summer. But now the whole country is paying the price.

"There should now be an election so that everyone in the country can have their say about who should form the next government. We need to pray for wisdom for everybody involved, for the leading figures in the Conservative Party and for the leading figures in the opposition as well, because the events of the next few weeks are going to have a long lasting impact on all of us." 


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