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Justin Welby forced to carry ‘panic alarm’ due to threats from Members of Parliament

by Lydia Davies

The Archbishop of Canterbury has made alarming revelations about the prevalence of hate speech among Members of Parliament.

In a recent interview with The Spectator, he accused both MPs and members of the Church of England of making hateful comments and disclosed that he carries a panic alarm due to threats made against him.

Although he did not specify the incidents he was referring to, his remarks came amidst a growing concern over extremist rhetoric undermining British democracy.

Graham Nicolls is the director of Affinity church network. He believes many in church leadership have felt the pressure of the job.

"I think there are a number of church leaders whether they're in Justin Welby's position or just leaders of a local church, who have felt the pressures.

"I think [during] covid and brexit and other controversial periods...I think leaders have felt a bit under threat" he told Premier Christian News.

Recently, Lee Anderson, the former Tory deputy chairman, was suspended from the party after refusing to apologise for saying that Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, was controlled by “Islamists”.

Additionally, the Church has faced criticism for its opposition to the Rwanda Plan, with accusations of "colluding with evil".

Expressing concern over the increase in abusive language, particularly towards female bishops, Most Rev Justin Welby called for stricter legal measures against hate speech and abusive social media usage.

He emphasised the importance of members of both Houses of Parliament being cautious with their language and rejecting hate speech.

He said: “We certainly, particularly bishops who are women, have had an enormous increase over the last year or two in abusive language.

“More can be done legally, I’m sure it can, rigorous prosecution of threats, rigorous prosecution of abusive use of social media.

“Members of both Houses of Parliament being very careful about language and not accepting hate speech”.

The Church conducted an urgent review of its policies towards asylum seekers following allegations of facilitating fake conversions for migrants to gain asylum.

However, Archbishop Justin clarified that he supports border control measures and agrees with the government's stance on immigration reduction and combating human trafficking.

“There’s a lot of what the Government says which I entirely agree with,” he said. “The boats must be stopped. We must limit access to our borders... three-quarters of a million in any year seems to me to be far too many.

“And so we must have good border control. And we must pursue, go after the traffickers. That I totally agree with”.

Justin Welby, who became archbishop in 2012, has seen the later years of his career dominated by a drawn out debate over same-sex marriage.

Anglican priests are able to conduct same-sex blessings as part of services but can not conduct standalone blessing ceremonies, marry gay couples, or get married themselves to someone of their own sex.

Archbishop Justin admitted that he has considered quitting his job over the matter, which saw conservative African, South American and Asian bishops disown him as head of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

When asked if he would consider resigning, the archbihsop responded: “Oh there are moments. Normally when you spend three days talking about the nature of human sexuality. But that’s always been the case.

“I wouldn’t say it’s an impossible job. But it’s a complicated job, with huge international dimensions and enormous moments of pressure".

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