Christian MP Fiona Bruce has called on the government to extend its consultation on controversial new anti-extremism laws.
Christian MPs request for extension to extremism consultation rejected
A request from a Christian MP to extend the government's extremism consultation has been rejected.
Fiona Bruce, the member for Congleton, called on the government to extend it, arguing that holding the discussion over the Christmas period meant that church leaders would be too busy to respond.
She has branded the rejection disappointing, saying that the proposals would potentially "alter the relationship between religious organisations and the state".
Speaking to Premier, she said: "What the state is saying is - we are going to monitor what is taught in your churches - now that is a very, very serious step."
"It looks like the government is going to close down the consultation on Monday so it's very important that anyone who's not responded does so within the next day or two - I urge people to respond, because the next step will be that the government will look at the results of this consultation".
The consultation was set up to discuss plans that would see anyone providing teaching to children for over six hours a week having to register and potentially face Ofsted inspections.
It is claimed that this could include church weekends away, beach missions, summer camps, and church youth groups.
The government asked groups and individuals to give feedback through a consultation. It was launched at the start of Advent and finishes on Monday.
The Department of Education (DofE) said it was satisfied it had enough responses and therefore saw no need to extend the consultation period.
Fiona Bruce said that: "These proposals could lead to serious challenges for many of the small youth groups and initiatives which churches run, and which contribute so much to young people's lives. I urge people to respond this weekend."
Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Fiona Bruce here: