Public officials must swear oath to equality and British values, Sajid Javid says

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has drawn up plans to require public officials in the UK to swear to uphold “British values”.

Mr Javid, who briefly served as Minister for Equalities in 2014, made the announcement in a column in the Sunday Times.

Under the plans, elected officials, civil servants and council workers would be required to sign the oath.

He wrote: “We can’t expect new arrivals to embrace British values if those of us who are already here don’t do so, and such an oath would go a long way towards making that happen. Studies show that public commitments can influence behaviour change and I believe an oath like this would make a real difference.”

Mr Javid added that the oath would include a “belief in equality” and “freedom from abuse”.

He continued: “When I talk about integrating into British life or embracing British values, I’m not demanding that everyone drinks tea, watches cricket and bobs up and down at the Last Night of the Proms.

“I’m talking about tolerating the views of others, even if you disagree with them.

“About believing in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from abuse. I’m talking about a belief in equality, democracy and the democratic process.

“And about respect for the law, even if you think the law is an ass. Because if you do disagree, you can change it. That’s what freedom and democracy are all about.”

His announcements comes on the back of the Casey Review, which looked at issues of social cohesion, particularly among the British Muslim community.

Among other findings, the controversial report warned about low acceptance of LGBT people among British Muslims.

Dame Casey wrote::  “There is evidence that some people in particular ethnic and faith communities have views around Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people that are at odds with mainstream modern British values and laws.

“Such views are frequently ascribed to more hard-line and extreme individuals in those communities.

“During this review, however, we have come across a worrying prevalence of anti-LGBT sentiment.

“Intimidation and hatred for those who leave their faith was brought to the attention of the team, particularly from people who left more traditional or conservative religious sects and who felt persecuted within their own community.

It continues: “During the review, we heard from a number of LGBT members of faith communities, in particular from within the Muslim community, about their experiences.

“These people face hate and stigmatisation both for being a Muslim and from within their own community for being gay and are therefore particularly isolated and held back.”