Role of church in parliament and schools questioned as census shows 5.5m fewer holders of faith in England and Wales

Census results revealing England is no longer a majority-Christian country have sparked calls for an end to the church’s role in parliament and schools while Leicester and Birmingham became the first UK cities with “minority majorities”.

For the first time in a census, less than half of the population of England and Wales – 27.5 million people – described themselves as “Christian”, 5.5 million fewer than in 2011. It triggered calls for urgent reform of laws requiring Christian teaching and worship in schools and Church of England bishops to sit in the House of Lords.

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