Cherie Blair faces discrimination claim

By politics.co.uk staff

Cherie Booth faces an official complaint after allowing a criminal to escape prison because of his religious beliefs.

The wife of former prime minister Tony Blair was sitting as a judge at Inner London crown court when Shamso Miah, a 25-year-old man from Redbridge, came up before her.

He had broken a man’s jaw after getting involved in a fight over queue-jumping in a high street bank. Ms Booth told Miah his prison sentence would be suspended because he was a religious person and had no previous convinctions.

“What would have happened if he had been an atheist?” Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society asked.

“Would Mrs Blair/Booth have refused to suspend the sentence on the grounds that non-believers have no guiding principles that tell them that smashing people in the face for no good reason is not the right thing to do?”

“This is a very worrying case of discrimination that appears to show that religious people get different treatment in Cherie Blair’s court.”

The NSS’ complaint that Ms Booth was unjust and discriminatory has been made to the Office of Judicial Complaints.

Formal disciplinary action is only possible if the complaint is deemed worthy of investigation through a full inquiry.

The British Humanist Association’s chief executive Andrew Copson commented: “Cherie Booth’s remarks show a default assumption still made by too many in society that you are a good person if you are religious – that there is something intrinsically and self-evidently good about being religious and, conversely, that if you are non-religious you are somehow less moral.

“This is an assumption that persists despite there being no evidence whatsoever to support it.”