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What kind of Prime Minister is needed now? Evangelicals in the UK respond

Christian leaders lament “the degradation of truth in our public discourse” and the “arrogance” seen in the last weeks. They pray for a new leader with “integrity, wisdom, honesty and competence”.

AUTOR 7/Joel_Forster,5/Evangelical_Focus LONDON 21 DE OCTUBRE DE 2022 11:24 h
Liz Truss leaves the Prime Minister's residence in London, Downing Street 10, to make her resignation speech, 20 October 2022. / Photo: [link]Andrew Parsons, No 10 Downing Street[/link], CC.

The socio-political crisis in the United Kingdom is being followed live all over the world, with news media analysing the “chaotic” situation as Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned after only 44 days in power.



The Conservative Party has said it will elect a new leader of the government in 7 days. Meanwhile, Christian parliamentarians in the opposition such as Tim Farron (former leader of the Liberal Party) are calling for a general election.



What do evangelical Christians in the UK think about the situation of the country? What do they hope to see in the next Prime Minister?



 



“Britain, we can do better than this!”



Krish Kandiah, a Christian social activist in areas such as welcoming refugees and the adoption of vulnerable children, said Liz Truss' resignation did not move from what had been an “arrogant” way of leadership. “Where is the ‘sorry, I made a mistake, I should not have wrecked things for ordinary people’?”, he asked.







“People are wondering how are they going to pay their electricity bills, their mortgages, we have massive National Health Systems queues and lists, and on top of that we have our friends of Ukraine we haven’t offered suitable accommodation. We still have another 9,500 Afghans stuck in hotels… And we are playing stupid musical chairs in our politics!”



In a video Kandiah recorded shortly after the Prime Minister’s resignation, he adds: “I want a government who is going to lead on behalf of the people who need them to do a good job. Come on, let’s have a grown-up government. Please, whoever is going to be the next Prime Minister, please start governing in a way that doesn’t look like you’re watching your back, looking out for your job, but looking out for those who need your help. Come on Britain, we can do better than this!”.



 



Politics should not be a popularity contest



Andrew Flannagan, who leads the cross-party initiative Christians in Politics, said in an interview it was a shame the politics had turned into a “popularity contest” strongly promoted by the media.



He encouraged Christians to not withdraw from the public square. “Yes, we should be praying for our political leaders, but perhaps we might be the answer to those prayers. Because otherwise, we will sit around another decade complaining about the quality of leadership, when actually a lot of that quality can be found in the church”.



“Let’s address the roots of the issue”, Flannagan added in another interview, according to Christian Today, “what we are witnessing is the inevitable fruit of the degradation of truth in our public discourse”.



 



‘Without vision the people perish’



In answers to Evangelical Focus, Peter Lynas, UK Director of the EAUK (Evangelical Alliance), said a Prime Minister with “clarity of vision of vision” was needed. “Without vision the people perish. Recent politics has been very reactionary with no clear vision on the deeper problems around family, community and flourishing”.



“We also need character - there is a distinct lack of honesty and integrity about the scale of the problems we face and the reality of the tough choices ahead. Finally, we need competence. Political decisions have real world impact and incompetence is leading to unnecessary pain and suffering for many”.



 



Wisdom, honesty, competence



John Stevens, leader of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC), told Evangelical Focus: “With the cost-of-living crisis and ongoing war in Ukraine, the UK is facing massive difficult challenges. We need a Prime Minister of integrity, wisdom, honesty and competence who will guide the nation through these turbulent times, putting the common good above party advantage”.



He added: “Whilst it would be wonderful to have a PM who fears the Lord, in God’s common grace any leader with these qualities will be a blessing for which we can be thankful”.



Dave Burke, a retired evangelical pastor in the north east of England, said: “What we really need is a boring prime minister who is very competent and good at building unity across the country. But this is not what we will get! Britain is a very divided country, with strongly polarised opinions on Europe, immigration and a welter of social issues”. For Burke, none of the potential substitutes for Liz Truss in the Conservative Party would be the leader the country needs. “So what we really need is a general election”.



[analysis]



  [title] Prayers needed [/title]



 [text]

Meanwhile, the leader of the Church of England, Justin Welby, said hours after the resignation speech of the Prime Minister: “My prayers are with Liz Truss and her family following her resignation, and I give thanks for her public service to our country. We should always be grateful to those who take on the great and difficult responsibilities of leadership”.



Gavin Calver, the CEO of the UK Evangelical Alliance, also encouraged Christians to pray: “It’s hard to watch on as such chaos grips our country. There are many possible outcomes from here & we desperately need to find the right one. My instinctive reaction to it all is to pray for our leaders, for our land, for the broken & for greater stability. Lord have mercy”


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[/analysis]


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