Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet) (Con):
2. What steps the Church is taking to help implement the recommendations of the report of the Bishop of Truro on support for persecuted Christians published in 2019.
Andrew Selous: I thank my right hon. Friend for her sustained and long-term interest in freedom of religion and belief for Christians and people of all faiths around the world. At the Lambeth conference, the Bishop of Chelmsford, herself a Christian refugee from Iran, spoke about the need to challenge some of the darker elements of faith leaders who condone persecution.
Theresa Villiers: In the light of the conclusions of the independent review assessing the implementation of the Bishop of Truro’s report on supporting persecuted Christians around the world, what improvements would the Church like to see in relation to the envoy for freedom of religion or belief? My hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce) has done a wonderful job, but we want to see the post established on a permanent basis, with greater capacity to engage across Government and resources to match.
Mr Speaker: Now that the hon. Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce) has been named, I think we ought to bring her in.
Fiona Bruce (Congleton) (Con): I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) for her question and my hon. Friend the Second Church Estates Commissioner for his answer. The recent independent review of progress on Truro has confirmed that there is more to be done before FORB becomes firmly embedded in the work of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. One area that was highlighted is the need for better engagement with stakeholders, among which the Church is key. Would the Second Church Estates Commissioner be willing to join me to discuss the matter at a meeting with an FCDO Minister, which has been agreed?
Andrew Selous: I should be delighted, and I would like to bring our bishops who lead in the area and senior officials from Church House to that important meeting.