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05 October 2012

Press release

Evangelical Alliance welcomes new equality chief

Evangelical Alliance welcomes new equality chief

The Evangelical Alliance warmly welcomes the announcement that Baroness Onora O'Neill has been recommended as the new chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Before the decision is finalised the Joint Human Rights Committee will hold a pre-appointment scrutiny hearing.

Commending the proposed appointment, Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy for the Evangelical Alliance, said:

“Under Trevor Phillips the EHRC was unfit for purpose, it was unsuccessful and it compounded the deficiencies of our current equality laws and human rights culture. It was too often driven by a combination of religious illiteracy and hostility towards mainstream religion, and Mr Phillips' frequent ideological outbursts served to undermine the confidence many Christians had in the ability of the EHRC to take freedom of religion seriously.”

Trevor Phillips stepped down as chair in September this year after six years in charge. The commission attracted criticism for its handling of religious beliefs following Mr Phillips' remarks that religious groups should leave their beliefs 'at the door of the temple'.

Baroness O'Neill comes to the post with considerable experience and knowledge of issues of justice, liberalism and equality.

The Evangelical Alliance calls on the incoming chair to take an approach to equality and diversity that is genuinely appreciative of identity and difference.

Dr Landrum went on to say: “The appointment of Baroness O'Neill provides hope that religion will be better understood and get fairer treatment from the EHRC. We want the commission to regain the confidence and trust of religious people and hope it can become a valued and respected public body that defends the rights of all in society. The Evangelical Alliance looks forward to working with the new chair and wishes her well in the role.”

Media Enquiries

 Daniel Webster   d.webster@eauk.org
 020 7207 2129    07766 444650

Notes to Editors

The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.