Ed Miliband praised Christians for their work in promoting social cohesion and fighting hunger and inequality during his speech at the Labour party HQ.
He stressed that ‘respect’ was the watchword in the immigration debate. He spoke hours after a pre-election speech was leaked about Labour’s strategy document that advised MPs against campaigning on immigration. Mr Miliband explained that care had to be taken to differentiate between helping refugees and on immigration.
Many Christians including Vicar of Baghdad Andrew White have called for Britain to take in more refugees fleeing atrocities in the Middle East. Miliband was quoted in saying:
“On the refugee issue, the British people are incredibly proud of our traditions of taking in innocent people who are genuinely fleeing persecution and doing our bit.”
“You see that in the generosity of people when it comes to giving money when emergencies, disasters take place. I don’t think that should be confused with the immigration issue. I don’t think harshness in relation to emergency refugee situations should be seen as a proxy for an immigration policy. You’ve got to get the immigration policy right and you’ve got to make sure you uphold our traditions in relation to refugees.”
He added that he had a passion for social justice and praised the work that the Trussell Trust and other running food banks around the UK were doing in the country.
“Clearly I’m not a Christian, but when I talk about a more equal, more just society, I think that speaks for so many Christian traditions. And it speaks for the traditions and indeed advocacy for Christians on the Left. I totally don’t agree with the idea that there aren’t reasons for Christians to support the Labour Party because I think we speak to a vision of society which many Christians would support.”
“I share the Archbishop’s deep outrage about the fact that we’re one of the richest countries in the world and we’ve got such an epidemic of people in food poverty having to go to food banks. I pay tribute to the work at food banks and that lots of people are doing.” “We are clearly a Christian country, we’ve got an established church.”
“But we are also a country of people of a broad range of faiths, all faiths and none.” “I think it’s important to unify the country, that’s what the One Nation vision is about. It’s about different people of different backgrounds, different faiths, coming together, feeling a sense of kinship, feeling s a sense of affinity with each other, and I think that’s a really important part of our country. In a way it’s partly a tribute to the Church of England because it’s an established church, and it’s an extremely tolerant church, and I think that’s one of the good things about our country.”
Posted by Amanda Hopkins