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'As a Christian, I value public holidays to clearly mark religious festivals', MP contributes to bank holiday debate

Tue 30 Oct 2018
By Marcus Jones

MPs have debated the idea of introducing extra public holidays to mark the religious festivals of other faiths.

Among other bank holidays, the UK currently gives paid days off work on Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Over 50,000 signed two petitions calling for extra days off for Muslim and Hindu celebrations.

SNP MP Martyn Day suggested that because Muslims and Hindus are forced to take a day off for Christian events - they often struggle to book time off for their own religious occasions.

Responding, Christian DUP MP Jim Shannon suggested the solution wasn't extra public holidays but instead more understanding from employers.

Speaking in the Commons, he said: "As a Christian, I value having public holidays to clearly mark the importance of religious holidays, but I understand that the Government are not disposed towards making that happen.

"Does the honourable Gentleman agree that, in the strongest terms, employers should work with their employees to accommodate their wishes to take time off to celebrate Eid? Working with employers is probably the best way forward."

While no vote on the debate took place, many MPs used the opportunity to promote the importance of interfaith work.

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