Separation of Church and State Bill

A bill to separate the church and state in England, to recognize that the United Kingdom is a secular state and guarantee freedom of worship under the law.
Bill ID B035
Author(s) The Rt Hon Charles Gladstone mp
Amended by N/A
First reading 2020 July 1
Royal assent TBC
Commencement TBC
Affected legislation N/A

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

1 Principles

  1. That all citizens of the United Kingdom will enjoy freedom of religious worship and freedom of religious expression including in choice of garment, and that under no circumstances will the state obstruct these freedoms.
  2. That the State of the United Kingdom henceforth will be officially neutral in regards to religion, and not endorse any religious tradition over another, and that under no circumstances will the state provide funding to religious institutions, unless they meet the criteria for the preservation of areas of historical significance or listed buildings
  3. That her majesty’s government will enforce the rights of freedom of religious of expression with appropriate legislation.

2 Status of the Church of England

  1. Her Majesty Elizabeth II will not longer be known and will not be the Head of the Church of England
  2. Instructs the Secretary of the Church Commission to create a new charitable trust called the Church of England Trust, which will manage the transition to the creation of a new charitable trust separate from the state. States that this supersedes all legislation pertaining to Church governance.
  3. Abolishes the Secretary of the Church Commission 6 months after the trust creation, to be replaced with a Secretary for Religious Affairs
  4. Formally transfers all property of Church of England parishes to a newly created trust
  5. Instructs Her Majesty’s Treasury to ensure such a transition does not lead to mass-closures of churches, in the form of financial assistance if strictly necessary to prevent a precipitous and damaging set of mass-closures across England. Such funding should only be taken as a last resort. Such financial assistance will be henceforth forbidden when the Department for Religious Affairs deems it no longer necessary, or at that latest 5 years after the enactment of this act.
  6. Instructs Her Majesty’s Treasury to ensure that religious buildings that are listed are protected from development or other forms of damage
  7. Lords Spiritual are no longer members of the House of Lords upon the commencement of this bill.

3 Status of Education

  1. States that no religious schools will be shut down, closed or taxed as a result of this bill
  2. Instructs the Secretary of Education to prevent the formation of any schools that contravene or break the guidelines outlined in principles or these principles, with exemptions being made for any school which is already in the process of foundation:
    1. Set up with an explicitly religious purpose or intent, including within the naming or iconography of the school
    2. Teaches lessons explicitly designed to promote or favour one form of religious tradition or another, in particular ones taught by religious officials
    3. Fails to teach religious tolerance and tolerance and respect for those within protected characteristics
    4. Fails to permit the usage of religious garments of the pupil’s choosing
  3. Instructs the Secretary of State for education to enforce clause 2 by usage of OFSTED
  4. Instructs the Secretary of State for Education to undertake a review into all schools, ensuring that in line with existing laws they are teaching respect for all religious traditions, as well as those in other protected characteristics, and to enforce this with appropriate legislation.

4 Commencement

  1. This Act comes into force on January 1st, 2021
  2. This Act may be cited as the Separation of Church and State Act 2020
  3. This bill applies to the entire United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland