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Seeking sanctuary

Catholic Union Deputy Director, James Somerville-Meikle, writes:

The Department for Education is a strange building. The offices on Great Smith Street are known as the Sanctuary Buildings as the land once formed part of the precincts of Westminster Abbey.

The “Sanctuary” takes its name from the right of sanctuary offered to anyone passing within its confines, a right founded by Edward the Confessor. These days the only people taking sanctuary in the building are Ministers and their officials.

On Monday, our President Sir Edward Leigh and myself visited the Department to hand in the Catholic Union’s “scrap the cap” letter. The small entrance door of the Edwardian building gives way to an enormous modern, glass atrium where you can see all the way up through eight floors.

A touchscreen lift takes you to the Ministerial offices where we met the Secretary of State, Gillian Keegan. “Gosh are these all the names” she said, as she looked over the list of over 1,000 people who had signed the letter.

Thanks to our members and supporters, we have been able to send a strong message to the Education Secretary that Catholic free schools should be allowed to open in England. Edward the Confessor would surely be proud.