Theresa May has made a plea for religious tolerance in her first Easter message as Prime Minister.

In a video message released just two days before she called a general election, May said: “We should be confident about the role that Christianity has to play in the lives of people in our country, and we should treasure the strong tradition that we have in this country of religious tolerance and freedom of speech.”

May said that Christians and others around the world were sometimes forced to “practise their religion in secret and often in fear”. She also implied that freedom of religion in Britain might not be entirely secure, saying: “We must continue to ensure that people feel able to speak about their faith, and that absolutely includes their faith in Christ.”

The Prime Minister appealed to Britain’s shared values of “compassion, community, citizenship”, which she said she had learnt “growing up in a vicarage”. May’s father was an Anglican clergyman.

She said these shared values could unite Britain as it faces “the opportunities that stem from our decision to leave the European Union”.

In November, May said that the ability to speak about one’s religion is “an important issue”.

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