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Hundred MPs join BA protest bandwagon

Written by: Staff
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London, Nov 23 (UNI) British Airways decision to ban employees from openly wearing religious symbols has already resulted in almost 100 MPs joining the protest.

A total of 94 MPs from all parties have signed Parliamentary motions condemning BA for its 'deplorable behaviour' in banning check-in worker Nadia Eweida from wearing her Christian cross.

The list includes several serving and ex-cabinet ministers, one Muslim and one Hindu MP. They also include Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, and Ben Bradshaw, the environment minister, who is threatening to boycott the airline over its 'intransigence'.

The protest has been joined by 30 Labour MPs, 37 Conservatives, 16 Liberal Democrats and 11 from other smaller parties.

It was the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, who first condemned BA's approach as 'flawed nonsense' which took no account of Britain's cultural heritage.

Earlier this week, Miss Eweida, 55, lost an appeal against BA over her right to wear the cross with her uniform. She has been off work for two months without pay after BA officials claimed that the cross breached company rules on dress code.

Last night, Vince Cable, Miss Eweida's MP and the Liberal Democrat deputy leader, said he was 'delighted' at the strength of protest among fellow members of Parliament.

''The company's intransigence will damage its reputation and losing many regular customers including honourable members,'' said One motion in circulation in the House of Commons last night.

Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham and a contender for the Labour deputy leadership, described BA's behaviour as 'ridiculous'.

''People have the right to wear a religious symbol and to be told otherwise is distinctly un-British,'' said Tim Farron, an aide to the party leader Sir Menzies Campbell.

''The whole debate on religious symbols has got out of hand. We are a tolerant nation and this behaviour from BA seems to be extremely intolerant indeed,'' he further added.

Last night it was reported that UN leaders will raise the issue at a conference in Prague this weekend. It will be debated alongside other claims of religious intolerance including complaints about death sentences for critics of Islam in Pakistan.

UNI XC MQA BS1626

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