This Easter I think of those values that we share – values that I learnt in my own childhood, growing up in a vicarage
Theresa May has urged Britain to draw on her Christian values to come together after Brexit .
In her Easter video message, the Prime Minister says ethics she learned as a vicar’s daughter should “bring us together” as we “face the opportunities” of leaving the EU.
She adds Brits should be “confident about the role Christianity has to play” in their lives and do more to stand up for persecuted religious people worldwide.
The message on Easter Sunday prompted a warning about mixing religion and policy from former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, who famously said “we won’t do God”.
He told the Observer: “She does not exactly say if God had a vote he would have voted Leave, but she gets closer to it than she should.
“If she really thinks she is leading a united country full of hope… I suggest she gets out more.”
Mrs May’s Easter message says: “As we face the opportunities ahead of us – the opportunities that stem from our decision to leave the European Union and embrace the world – our shared interests, our shared ambitions, and above all our shared values can and must bring us together.
“This Easter I think of those values that we share – values that I learnt in my own childhood, growing up in a vicarage.
“Values of compassion, community, citizenship. The sense of obligation we have to one another.
“These are values we all hold in common – and values that are visibly lived out everyday by Christians – as well as by people of other faiths or none.”
She pays tribute to the sacrifices of aid workers and other people who put themselves in harm’s way to bring relief from war.
She adds: “We should be confident about the role that Christianity has to play in the lives of people in our country.
“And we should treasure the strong tradition that we have in this country of religious tolerance and freedom of speech.
“We must continue to ensure that people feel able to speak about their faith, and that absolutely includes their faith in Christ.
“We must be mindful of Christians and religious minorities around the world who do not enjoy these same freedoms, but who practise their religion in secret and often in fear.
“And we must do more to stand up for the freedom of people of all religions to practice their beliefs openly and in peace and safety.”
Jeremy Corbyn has released his own Easter message paying tribute to victims of war, “homelessness, poverty or crisis in our health service”.
The Labour leader adds: “It would be easy to retreat into our private lives because the challenges seem overwhelming, or allow ourselves to be divided and blame others.
“But we need to respond to these problems head on, through action and support for social justice, peace and reconciliation.
“Those principles are at the heart of Christianity. And Christians throughout the world will this weekend be remembering Jesus’s example of love and sacrifice, and the Easter message of redemption and peace.”