Thank you for contacting me about the persecution of Christians.
As you are probably aware this is a matter which is very close to my heart and which I have spoken up about in the Commons about on many occasions.
It is an extraordinary figure that nearly a quarter of a billion people are suffering persecution today because of their Christian faith. In addition, 80 per cent of people who suffer persecution because of their faith are Christian.
I am very pleased that the Foreign Secretary has asked the Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, to conduct an independent review into the UK's response to the persecution of Christians abroad. The review aims to map levels of persecution and other discrimination against Christians in key countries around the world. My hope is that it will provide an objective assessment of the impact and levels of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) support, and make recommendations to the Foreign Secretary.
I have many criticisms of the way we have failed to respond to many challenges facing persecuted Christians, particularly in Iraq and Syria where our foreign policy has all too often made things worse rather than better.
Nonetheless, I look forward to reading the reports that will be published as a result of the review, and I understand that the review will have a strong focus on evidence and consultation with a range of actors, including survivors and victims, civil society institutions, the diplomatic community, and governmental and multilateral entities.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
EDWARD LEIGH MP