Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Situation of Christians in the context of freedom of religion

Delivered in Plenary - 19th January 2011

Mr President

When I was first elected to this House eleven years ago, it was regarded as somewhat eccentric, verging on embarrassing particularly even within the EPP I have to say that I frequently raised the issue of Christian persecution in the Islamic and Communist worlds, which I regret has only got worse since then.

So I am delighted today that even some of the more aggressive and anti-clerical forces in this House have woken up to the existential threat to ancient Christian faith communities such as the Iraqi Assyrians, of which I am a patron in the UK, and the Egyptian Copts. Last Saturday, I stood outside 10 Downing Street in London with my Coptic constituents demanding that the UK Government do more to pressurise Egypt and its Government to protect its own citizens. Today I call upon you, Baroness Ashton, as the High Representative of the European Union, to do likewise.