A Scottish MP has said she is not embarrassed about appearing for a Commons select committee hearing with a cross on her forehead for Ash Wednesday.
Carol Monaghan, SNP MP for Glasgow West, said Christians as a whole should not be afraid to publicly display their faith as she refused to wipe the mark off for the televised meeting.
'The reaction was generally positive, most people didn't know what it meant,' she said afterwards according to the BBC.
'When I came into committee, one of the members asked me about it. I said "it's Ash Wednesday" and they said "but this is going to be broadcast".
'I think they just thought I didn't want to be embarrassed - but I was not going to rub it off.
'Many religions have visible symbols and Christians should not feel any embarrassment in either practising their religion or in the public display of religious symbols.'
Is it ok to be a practicing Catholic and hold public office, asks a BBC social media account. pic.twitter.com/31vF4sRC2H— Aidan Kerr (@Aidan___Kerr) March 2, 2017
The Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent, wrote on Twitter:
Ms Monaghan, a member of the Science and Tech select committee, went on to say she had the 'usual' reaction from people saying she had a mark on her forehand.
'I am happy to answer their questions. For me it is an educational opportunity,' she said.
Surprised by fuss over my ashes. Always done this but I guess more interest in me as an MP. All comments positive
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and many churches offer a service where the congregation is marked with a sign of the cross. The 'oily black gloop', as one priest described it, is made from ash mixed with holy water.