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Ali - Islam

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House of Commons Library

Those of us who work in Parliament are constantly reminded of the UK’s rich religious heritage. Every day, sittings in both the House of Commons and Lords start with prayers. New Parliamentarians typically swear an oath to God before taking their seats. These traditions are not there for purely historical reasons. They are a symbol of what we are working towards.

We are (thankfully) no longer a country that imposes religious tests for political office. But the core principle at the heart of our democracy has much in common with the teachings of the world's major religions: Parliamentarians are there to represent the views and interests of those who, through lack of means or opportunity, are not able to represent themselves. Our democracy is not about the individual, but about working for others. That principle is recognisable in the teachings of religious figures like Jesus and the Prophet Mohammed, and is especially noteworthy during a pandemic.

Working in the House of Commons research service, I feel privileged to play a role in making our democracy stronger. Our advice to MPs helps make our country's laws better, and helps to ensure people are better represented. My religious values contribute to my determination to want to make this country a better place for us all.

We still have a long way to go, but Parliament - at the level of both politicians and staff - is increasingly diverse. Religion teaches us the importance of caring for others, and ensuring no one is left behind. That religious value is important to our democracy, and I am pleased to see our country's rich religious history and diversity represented in our sovereign legislature.