Lib Dem manifesto: What did it say about religion?

In a campaign where religious issues have beset the Liberal Democrats with a number of problems, it is perhaps not surprising their manifesto makes scant reference to faith.

'Religion', 'faith' and 'Church' are not mentioned once in the 97-page booklet outlining Tim Farron's case to be an effective opposition – emphasising more than once Theresa May was heading for a landslide victory.

ReutersTim Farron has faced awkward questions about his faith and personal views on abortion and gay sex.

The Lib Dems do not even extend to mentioning faith schools and their oft-controversial admissions system.

One of the few points related to religion comes under promises to 'safeguard rights and responsibilities'.

Among a host of points focusing on LGBT rights, the Lib Dems say they will: 'Guarantee the freedom of people to wear religious or cultural dress, and tackle the growing incidence of Islamophobic hate crime.'

Under the same section they also vow to: 'Campaign to reduce intolerance, including anti-Semitism, and hate crimes alongside organisations such as Show Racism the Red Card, the Anne Frank Trust UK, and Kick It Out.'

Beyond these two instances one has to work hard to find anything linked to faith or religion, which is unusual given the Lib Dems' support for local communities and initiatives often driven by the Church.

The manifesto promises to 'scrap the flawed Prevent strategy' which is seen by many Muslims as promoting discrimination and unfairly targeting the Islamic community.

The Lib Dems say they will 'replace it with a scheme that prioritises community engagement and supports communities in developing their own approach to tackling the dangers of violent extremism'.

Finally the issue that caught out Bath's Lib Dem candidate, Wera Hobhouse, the Lib Dems promise House of Lords reform. They say they want the UK's second chamber to have a 'proper democratic mandate'.

While it is not clear what that means, an elected House of Lords would most likely affect the Church of England right to have 26 of its bishops sit there.

In all it seems the Lib Dems election manifesto focuses so much on Brexit there was little room for much else. Beyond putting a 5p charge on coffee cups and legalising cannabis, the party has follow Theresa May's lead by making this a single-issue election.

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