The MCB statement found the law “utterly discriminatory” as it does not provide a similar exemption for Muslims. Farooq Murad, the Secretary General of the MCB said: ‘We find it incredible that while introducing the bill in the House, culture secretary Maria Miller could keep a straight face when offering exemption for the established Church while in the same breath claiming, “fairness to be at the heart of her proposals.”
It is not just the ‘Church of England and Church in Wales’ who “explicitly” stated strong opposition’ as Mrs. Miller says, the Muslim Council of Britain along with most other faith groups also made equally strong representation. No one in their right mind should accept such a discriminatory law. It should be amended to give exactly the same exemption to all the religions.’
Ministers expect the legislation to take up to 12 months to get through Parliament.
Conservative Party MPs, including ministers, will get a free vote amid private fears that at least 40 per cent of Tory MPs oppose the plans. Labour has also granted its backbenchers a free vote, in a surprise move.