If you are a member of the press and you would like to get in touch, please contact Baroness Berridge’s office on 0207 183 9905.

Minister For The School System Sees Outstanding Employer-Led Education In Action At Ron Dearing UTC

18 May 2021

The Minister for the School System has visited Hull’s Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC) for a first-hand look at outstanding employer-engaged education and to discover the keys to its success. More

Firms need to be wary of post-covid setbacks for women, minister warns

4 May 2021

Baroness Berridge says it’s up to industry to keep up drive to recruit more females into it More

Berridge happy for en-masse conversions in faith schools academies plan

2nd May 2021

Baroness Berridge said she would not rule out the rapid growth of religious trusts, after announcing over £2 million to help more faith schools become academies. More

Editor asks: Baroness Berridge, academies minister

30th April 2021

Conservative peer Baroness Berridge was appointed academies minister in February last year, a month before Covid-19 forced nationwide school closures. She spoke to Schools Week editor John Dickens in her first interview. More

Schools Minister praises Skegness Academy for going ‘above and beyond’ to support pupils through pandemic

10th March 2021

The headteacher of Skegness Academy says he is looking forward to welcoming the Schools Minister after received praise for the ‘extraordinary’ support for pupils through the pandemic. More

Minister for Women Baroness Berridge reveals how she looked after herself at the age of 16 in exclusive interview

6th March 2021

EXCLUSIVE: ‘You have to survive. It is very much that survival instinct.’ More

LISTEN: Increasing the 12%: why we need more women in engineering

22nd February 2021

In this new episode of Engineering a Better World, from The House and The Institution of Engineering and Technology, we speak to Baroness Berridge, Amanda Solloway MP, Ella Podmore, and Jo Foster about encouraging more women into the engineering sector. More

Baroness Berridge confirmed as new academies minister

17th February 2020

New education minister Baroness Berridge has taken on the school system brief previously held by Lord Agnew, the Department for Education has confirmed.

Berridge was promoted last week. She was previously a whip who sometimes spoke for the government on education issues in the House of Lords. More

Who is Baroness Berridge? 8 facts about the new academies minister

17th February 2020

Here’s what we know …

1. She has been a Tory peer for nine years
Elizabeth Berridge became Baroness Berridge of The Vale of Catmose in 2011 when she was given a life peerage by David Cameron. The Vale of Catmose is in Rutland.

2. She was state-educated
Unlike her predecessor Lord Agnew, who went to private schools, Baroness Berridge was educated in the state system. According to her website, she attended Vale of Catmose College, a comprehensive school and then Rutland College, a sixth form college. She then studied law at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

3. She was a barrister in Manchester More

Archbishop demands action on campus “intimidation” and “lack of free speech”

4th November 2019

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on the Government to put pressure on universities over reports of “no-platforming, intimidation and lack of free speech”. The Most Rev Justin Welby told ministers at Westminster that “mere exhortation” was not working. The leading Anglican made the intervention as peers heard just five universities were known to have adopted an agreed definition of anti-Semitism. The archbishop, who is President of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), said: “We hear numerous reports of no-platforming, of intimidation and lack of free speech. “I accept fully that the universities are autonomous but will the minister look for ways in which pressure can be applied to ensure these standards are kept? “Because mere exhortation, would she agree, is not really working.”

Government frontbencher Baroness Berridge pointed out the Lords has legislated to ensure the independence of universities. More

‘Stand up for human rights in any trade deals’ after Brexit, says Lord Harries

18th October 2019

The Government’s spokeswoman in the Lords, Baroness Berridge, responded: “The goal is to maximise the benefits of trade, while ensuring that we stay true to our core values, including the promotion and advancement of international human-rights obligations. After Brexit, we will have the opportunity to promote these values as an independent champion of free, fair, rules-based international trade, striking out to seize the golden opportunities to strengthen our trading relationship with fast-growing economies around the world.” (Church Times)

The Bishop of Coventry

15th October 2019

” It is a particular form of challenge for our foreign policy that will loom large right across our international trade negotiations post Brexit. Will we be as resolute as the noble Baroness, Lady Berridge, was in a previous debate on this subject – I know this is also very much the Minister’s intention – in ensuring that the values, including those on human rights of every sort which underlie our nation, will be carried into the negotiating room and not left at the door?” (House of Lords speech reported in the Coventry Observer, 18 October)

Buckingham Palace

9th October 2019

The Baroness Berridge and The Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist were received by The Queen upon their appointment as Baronesses in Waiting to Her Majesty. (The Times Register)

The Home Office, Asylum and Religious Conversion

Radio 4 Sunday Programme 24 March 2019

Baroness Berridge took part in a discussion about how the Home Office deals with asylum claims from individuals who fear persecution if they are sent back to their country of origin because they have converted to a new religion. Listen to the discussion

New Bank Note: Will Seacole Be The First Black Brit?

The Voice 9 March 2019

AS WOMEN’S History Month begins, campaigners and MPs have stepped up their efforts to put an historic figure from a black and minority ethnic (BAME) background on the new £50 note.

Earlier this month Bank of England governor Mark Carney said that diversity will be considered when choosing who will appear on the new note. He was responding to a letter by Conservative MP Helen Grant urging him to take action about the fact that there had never been a non-white face on a banknote.

Also supporting the letter were MPs David Lammy, Stella Creasy, David Davis, George Freeman, Kate Green, Caroline Lucas, peers Baroness Floella Benjamin, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Baroness Elizabeth Berridge, Lord Victor Adebowale and Lord Herman Ouseley, leading historians Olivette Otele and David Olusoga, and actors Gemma Chan, Adrian Lester, Art Malik and David Oyelowo.

Read full article

China censured for Uighur abuse

The Church Times 14 December 2018

On Tuesday, the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, Baroness Berridge, said that it was “deeply concerned by reports of the oppression of Uighur Muslims in China”.

“This persecution is part of a systematic, and escalating, attack on Chinese citizens’ right to freedom of religion or belief,” she said. “Reports claim that this attack not only includes arbitrary detention and torture in prison camps, but also the forced organ-harvesting of religious prisoners of conscience, including Uighurs and Falun Gong practitioners.”

Read full article

Baroness Berridge interviewed about the APPGFoRB ‘Commentary’

BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme 16 December 2018

Listen here

Parliamentarians call for asylum for Asia Bibi

The Tablet 13 November 2018

More than 230 parliamentarians from countries including the UK have signed an open letter to the Pakistani Prime Minister. They urge the government to secure safe passage from the country for Asia Bibi and those under threat because of her acquittal. The UK signatories include… Baroness Berridge who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion and Belief. More

Asia Bibi: What they said

Premier Radio 31 October 2018

Baroness Berridge, a Christian politician and co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on international freedom of religion and belief told Premier: “This is a systemic problem and it hasn’t changed or reformed the laws of blasphemy in Pakistan per se.”

Listen to the full interview with Baroness Elizabeth Berridge from Premier Christian Radio’s News Hour

Home Office to introduce compulsory training on assessing religion or belief asylum claims

PoliticsHome 16 October 2018

Humanists UK has been working with the Home Office this year to introduce new training for all asylum assessors on claims related to freedom of religion or belief. The new day-long training, which was announced by Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford in the House of Lords yesterday, will be the first specific training on the matter, and will be rolled out early next year.

The new Home Office training materials are being produced in coordination with Humanists UK, the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Freedom of Religion or Belief (APPG on FoRB), and the Asylum Advocacy Group. Humanists UK has been working on them since the spring. The introduction of the training was announced in response to an oral question from APPG on FoRB Co-Chair Baroness Berridge.

Read full article

Forced conversion is prevalent in forced marriages across the Commonwealth

PoliticsHome 24 May 2018

Early and Forced Marriages (EFM) are a major scourge across the Commonwealth. They are a brutal disruption of a child’s natural development and harm the education, and economic and social potential of millions of girls who would otherwise be a major contributor to the Commonwealth’s future. A World Bank study showed that increasing the number of girls in secondary education by 1% increases GDP by 0.3%. EFM denies the right of women to decide their own future and often endangers their lives and health.

Any marriage before the age of 18 is considered a forced marriage as individuals before the age of maturity lack the capacity to give informed consent. Currently 52% of women in the Commonwealth who are now over 18 were married before the age of 18. Approximately 8.8 million Commonwealth women are married as children every year. That is 24,000 girls every day or 17 girls every minute. This is a problem that affects boys as well as girls, with UNICEF estimating that the level of early marriage among boys is one-fifth of the global level amongst girls.

The Commonwealth has recognised the scale of the problem and commitments to end EFM were made in Commonwealth Heads of Government Communiqué’s in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2018.

Read full article

Opposition parties slam whiplash reforms

Insurance Business Magazine 27 April 2018

…Conservative ex-barrister Baroness Berridge had been direct in saying that genuine claimants will not benefit from the Civil Liability Bill, arguing that a section of it paves the way for an increase in the complication of litigation.

“I fear we are hearing too loudly from the lawyers and the insurers, and I have yet to see any representation purely on behalf of genuine claimants from an organisation with no other vested interests,” she said.

Read the full article

The Commonwealth should be the natural organisation to lead on faith and the human right to choose which faith to follow

PoliticsHome 24 April 2018

The transnational network of faith is a key element of the cultural ties that form the arteries of the Commonwealth. Today, almost 95% of the Commonwealth population profess a religious belief. However, roughly 70% currently live with high or very high government restrictions on the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB). Perhaps even more concerning is how approximately 88% live in countries with high or very high social hostility between religious groups.

Given this worrying situation, it was disappointing to note that FoRB was not highlighted in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGHM) Communiqué. However, the tragedy facing the Rohingya was addressed and the Commonwealth, as one, called for repatriation, those responsible for human rights abuses to be brought to justice and the re-granting of citizenship for the Rohingya. But by failing to address the importance of the denial of FoRB and religious persecution to the recent explosion of violence towards the Rohingya, the Commonwealth seemed not to grasp the cause of the plight. Rohingya Muslims were declared illegal immigrants in 1982 and their citizenship was removed. Anti-Muslim sentiment supported by hard-line Buddhist monks has been key to stoking hatred against the Rohingya. Other Christian minorities in Myanmar, such as the Kachin, Chin and Naga peoples also face persecution, with approximately 120,000 forced to flee their homes to date. The example of Myanmar shows the devastating consequences of ignoring FoRB.

Read the full article

Sri Lanka risks backsliding on religious freedoms, UK Christian peer warns

Premier 12 March 2018

A recent wave of violence could see Sri Lanka lose its reputation as a country which is improving its track record on religious freedoms, a UK peer has warned.

House of Lords member and Christian, Baroness Berridge, spoke as the deadly unrest was condemned by the United Nations (UN), which called upon Colombo to ensure the perpetrators face justice.

She told Premier: “It is really hard to see this happen in Sri Lanka because since 2015… Sri Lanka has been on the right trajectory; it’s been much, much better.”

At least two people have been killed in unrest affecting the central district of Kandy in the last week – with dozens of homes, mosques, and businesses being set on fire.

Ending a three-day visit to the country on Sunday, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, criticised “the breakdown in law and order and the attacks against Muslims and their property”, in a statement.

Highlighting the urgency of ensuring peaceful co-existence between those of different faiths in Sri Lanka, Baroness Berridge said: “The authorities have got to get on top of these issues.

“There’s got to be community work around inter-faith issues, to get people together so that there is an interweaving of communities.”

Violence broke out in Kandy after the death of a Buddhist man who was beaten by a group of Muslim men in a row over a traffic accident.

Sir Lanka is a Buddhist-majority nation which is also home to significant Hindu, Muslim and Christian populations.

Click here to listen to Premier’s Tola Mbakwe speaking with Baroness Berridge.

UK peer calls for space for religious debates

Free Malaysia Today 30 December 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: A member of Britain’s House of Lords has highlighted the importance of free space for debates on religion.

Baroness Elizabeth Berridge, who is the director of the Commonwealth Initiative on the Freedom of Religion or Belief, said this free space, where people of different faiths could express themselves, explore ideas and educate one another, was integral for the development of mankind.

“We in the UK want to avoid a situation such as that from the reports we hear about North Korea, where everything is controlled, where you’re not allowed to read anything, to listen to anything, or to discuss anything,” she told FMT in an interview at the Islamic Renaissance Front’s office here.

Full article

View interview on video

Article 18 report launched

BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme 22 October 2017

Listen here

The Tablet, 25 October 2017

Conservative Peer and co-chair of the FoRB Committee, Baroness Elizabeth Berridge, told the BBC’s Sunday Programme that the UK government has been slow to grasp the role of religion as both a driver of conflict and as a driver in peace building.

“We have been behind the curve because as has been said we as a secularise Western European country are actually an exception to the rest of the world which is intensely religious. As a result, we in the civil service and the foreign office don’t always know enough about religion and its role in the world”, she told the programme on 22 October.

Click here to read the full article.

Christian Today, 25 October 2017

A fear of religion among foreign office staff hampers the UK’s fight for freedom of belief, politicians warned today.

Almost 85 per cent of the world’s population are linked to a faith and more than 80 per cent live in countries with ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of hostilities towards certain beliefs, a report by the all-party group on international freedom of religion found.

But speaking at the launch on Wednesday in the Speaker’s House in parliament, Baroness Berridge, a Conservative peer, warned ministers and aides who write policy were too nervous and badly trained to grabble with faith.

‘I think it goes beyond officials,’ she told Christian Today. ‘I think there is a general fear among people who make policy of not understanding religion, of seeing it as only a driver of conflict and not seeing its role in development or its role in peace building. There is a lot of ignorance around about faith and I think there is a reluctant to get involved.’

Click here to read the full article

Atrocities in Myanmar

The New York Times, 29 September 2017

To the Editor:

As members of parliaments and members of the Steering Group of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, we condemn the violence faced by civilian populations in Rakhine State, Myanmar. We call on all parties responsible for the atrocities to cease and desist…
Click here to read the full letter.

More to a mosque than meets the eye

The Daily Star, Bangladesh, 9 May 2017
Shahidul Alam, one of Bangladesh’s leading artistic voices, held a bold yet sincere exhibition yesterday on the outskirts of Dhaka that attempted to break new grounds — literally and figuratively. The daylong photography exhibit — “Embracing the Other” — was held along the outer walls of the Bait Ur Rouf mosque in Fayedabad near Abdullahpur. Distinguished guests at the exhibition included Munir M Murali, resident diplomatic representative at Aga Khan Development Network in Bangladesh; Baroness Berridge, a British Conservative politician and member of the House of Lords …
Click here to read the full article.

Wise Women Making An Impact

The Voice, 9 April 2017
The annual Wise Women ceremony focused attention on those doing great things. Special guests at this year’s event included Baroness Elizabeth Berridge, Paulette Simpson, director at The Voice and Muyiwa, head of Premier Gospel. Co-organiser Pastor Marjorie Esomowei said: “I always get a great feeling at the Wise Women Awards. It never fails to achieve its aims, which is to focus attention on women doing great things in the church and society.”
Click here to read the full article.

Religion can play a role in peacebuilding and social cohesion

Politics Home, 13 March 2017
To mark Commonwealth Day, Baroness Berridge highlights how the commonwealth provides a platform for dialogue on the role of religion in promoting peaceful societies. Click here to read the full article.

UK international relations debate focuses on Commonwealth benefits

The Commonwealth, 1 February 2017
“Post Brexit must mean enhanced Commonwealth engagement” the British politician Baroness Berridge urged during a parliamentary debate. Click here to read the full article.

British Minister Calls Donald Trump “Lord Trump”, Prompts Laughter

Huffpost Politics UK, 16 November 2016
Tory peer Baroness Berridge said that “many” in Britain had been “concerned” about Trump’s campaign rhetoric on immigration. She urged the minister to ensure that “any change” in US immigration policy “will apply to British citizens regardless of their religion”.
Click here to read the full article.

Questions raised over treatment of Christian asylum seekers

Christian Concern, 10 June 2016
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion and Belief believes that some asylum seekers in the UK are being unfairly questioned on their new-found faith, leading to genuine believers being rejected. The group has produced a report on the issue, believing that too often, officials are testing on knowledge of the Bible, rather than understanding the asylum seeker’s belief.

Baroness Berridge, who headed the parliamentary group’s inquiry, said: “The problem with those questions is that if you are not genuine you can learn the answers, and if you are genuine, you may not know the answers. When the system did move on to ask about the lived reality of people’s faith, we then found that caseworkers, who are making decisions which can be life or death for people, were not properly supported and trained properly.”

Click here to read the full article.

We must champion the freedom to change one’s beliefs about religion

Conservative Home, 7 February 2015
“One of the most profound changes I have seen in Britain since I became chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Freedom of Religion or Belief is the surge in news stories that deal with religiously motivated oppression or violence, both here and across the world.” Click here to read the full article.

Religious freedom should be at the heart of this Government’s foreign policy

Conservative Home, 30 June 2013
“One of the cornerstones of conservatism is the deeply rooted belief that every human being should be free to live according to their convictions and fulfil their potentials without any hindrance from the state. If, as Conservatives, we take a high view of freedom, surely the most basic freedom – and therefore the most fundamental – is the freedom of one’s thoughts and conscience.” Click here to read the full article.

Don’t lose Generation 2012

Conservative Home, 19 July 2012
“Rather than writing them off with a label that just suggests a dark horizon, let’s find out what the 18 to 24s think needs to be done to sort out their future, and so ensure a better future for Britain.” Click here to read the full article.

“Oh, the wonder of our new second chamber-to-be!”

Conservative Home, 7 July 2012
The Lords Reform Bill; “Oh, the wonder of our new second chamber-to-be! Just imagine: Senator Blair, with an electoral mandate for a full 15 years!”  Click here to read the full article.

Cathedral invests in start-up businesses

Christian Today, 30 May 2012
Baroness Berridge unveils Portsmouth Cathedral’s plans in a House of Lords debate led by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks. Click here to read more.

“No evidence” of secret courts

BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, 4 April 2012
Baroness Berridge, Conservative member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, spoke to the Today programme about proposals put forward by the government in its Security and Justice Green paper, to allow more court hearings and inquests to be held in secret, arguing they are unfair and unnecessary.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

Other media appearences in relation to the Joint Committee on Human Rights Justice and Security Green Paper:

LBC Radio, The Whole Show, 4th April
Baroness Berridge joined Julia Hartley-Brewer to talk discuss ‘Is Secret Justice Unfair’. To download the podcast click here.

For more information on the Justice and Security Green Paper click here.

Baroness quizzed during visit to Casterton Business & Enterprise College

Rutland & Stamford Mercury, 20 March 2012
Baroness Berridge visits pupils from Casterton Business and Enterprise College and Rutland County College. Link no longer available.

Peer visits MV16 to talk politics

Melton Times, 19 March 2012
Baroness Berridge visits Melton Vale Post 16 Centre to encourage students to engage more with the political and parliamentary process. Click here to read more.

Rutland headteachers visit Houses of Parliament

Rutland Times, 10 February 2012
Headteachers from Rutland invited to London by Baroness Berridge to discuss local educational issues. Link no longer available.

Baroness Elizabeth Berridge joins prayers at churches

Rutland Times, 30 January 2012
Baroness Berridge attends the ‘Churches Together in Oakham’ Prayer Breakfast. Link no longer available.

Speakers Head to Cricklade Festival

Swindon Advertiser, 3 January 2012
Baroness Berridge is to be among the speakers at Cricklade Festival in March. Click here to read more.

Casterton Business and Enterprise College honours its prize-winning pupils

Rutland & Stamford Mercury, 30 November 2011
Baroness Berridge attended the prize giving as guest speaker. Link no longer available.

Church Times: “We cannot arrest or imprison our way out of this situation”

Church Times, 18 November 2011
Baroness Berridge is interviewed for the Church Times. Click here to read the full article.

Baroness Berridge: Would the Prime Minister please silence Tim Montgomerie?

6 November 2011
Baroness Berridge comments on the value of an External Relations Unit at Conservative Home. Read her comments here.

Baroness Takes Part in YouTube Bible Reading

Monday 29 August 2011
The Baroness has taken part in a challenge by the King James Bible Trust, aiming to create a complete reading of the bible on their website to mark its 400th anniversary.

The Prince of Wales has even recorded a reading.

[In the Rutland Times, no longer available]

Scottish Dancing Performance for Baroness

Friday 27 May 2011, Rutland and Stamford Mercury

A Scottish dancing group from Langham Primary School performed for Baroness Berridge.

Scottish Dancing at Langham Primary School

The Baroness visited the school as part of a tour of schools and was treated to the performance by the group, which is an after school club. It was accompanied by bagpipes.

Baroness Berridge said: “It was a privilege to see the enthusiasm and determination on the pupils’ faces as they performed. It was a credit to the teachers that in such a short time the pupils had developed to such a high level of expertise. It really was remarkable.”