For many Christians, when it comes to David Cameron, there are mixed feelings.

Our Prime Minister's final day in office affords us an opportunity to reflect on his achievements. From a Christian perspective, we have to be honest and say not everything he has done has been to our liking. However we can also give thanks to God for the positive initiatives he did introduce.

The picture at the end of this reflection is perhaps less stark than we might expect. To my mind, Mr Cameron was a good prime minister, without coming too close to being a great one.

The highs

Anti slavery legislation

Westminster introduced the Modern Slavery Act in March 2015. This was the first dedicated piece of anti-slavery legislation in England and Wales for nearly two centuries. All those years ago, it was evangelicals who helped fuel the drive against the slave trade. Under David Cameron, the UK took another great stride forward in the battle against modern slavery.

Record employment

While not all Christians will agree on Mr Cameron’s particular brand of economic policy, there has unquestionably been an extraordinary growth in the number of people in work. In 2016, employment stood at 31.42 million - the highest ever recorded. More people in work means more people earning a living which is no bad thing.

Education, health and family life

In the areas of education and health important gains have been made. Parents are far more involved in schooling than ever before. This is important because in the Christian worldview, parents are best placed to influence and raise children.

Mr Cameron has also remained resolute in protecting spending on the NHS. Over the six years he has been Prime Minister, despite the pressure coming from cuts to departmental budgets, spending on the NHS has been ring fenced and in fact, under Cameron it has increased.

Finally, in recognition of the importance of families in society, under Mr Cameron, the Troubled Families’ programme was set up. The scheme has received tens of million in funding and thousands of families have benefited as a result.

Foreign Aid

The UK became the first country ever to spend 0.7 per cent of its GDP on foreign aid. Mr Cameron fought tenaciously to ensure this commitment remained in place from the time he introduced it, despite serious pressure to ditch this commitment due to austerity at home.

Rehabilitation for prisoners

While Mr Cameron has been in charge, there has been a renewed focus on rehabilitation for offenders. He has overseen a small revolution in how we engage with people in prison in terms of preparing them to go back into society and make a positive difference.

Investment in adoption services

This is one area where our outgoing PM has been instrumental in making a real and genuine difference. While prime minister, he has overseen significant investment in adoption services to help increase the number of children being adopted.

The lows

Same-sex marriage

Perhaps the most obvious issue for many Christians was Cameron’s open championing of the same-sex marriage legislation. During the debate, a petition expressing concern over the proposed redefinition was handed into Downing Street signed by more than half a million people. But this petition was ignored and the issue went to a vote in the House of Commons. For anyone who believes the biblical model of marriage between one man and one woman, this represented a huge stain on Cameron’s record.

Family rhetoric not matched by action

Although he introduced a family test, saying he wanted every government department to use it to safeguard family life, evidence suggests it was widely ignored. Our PM may have talked a good game on families, but the evidence suggests there has been more talk than action.

Welfare Cuts

Welfare cuts have put pressure on some of the poorest in society. Remember the Bedroom tax? While Mr Cameron has been in office, the use of foodbanks has also significantly increased.

Threats to Christian freedom

The Prime Minister’s drive to tackle extremism ended up with a broad, ill-defined proposal to hand out extremism disruption orders to anyone found guilty of inciting hatred or terrorism. The proposals, currently being drafted into a piece of legislation are a genuine threat to Christian freedom. If enacted, Mr Cameron will have been ultimately responsible for the biggest attack on religious freedom this country has seen for generations.

National debt

While it is true the deficit is down, the national debt has continued to increase so that it is now £1.6 trillion. Generations to come will be paying this off.

His Easter message

Some might have got excited about the PM writing about his faith for Premier Christianity magazine at Easter time. But read the last line, as he sums up what he thinks Easter is about: 'Easter is all about remembering the importance of change, responsibility, and doing the right thing for the good of our children.'

Easter is not about any of that! It is about a crucified and risen Saviour who died on the cross. His 2015 Easter message offered us a very stale and unspiritual version of Christianity. It contained nothing of the true and everlasting gospel.


There is of course one other issue that arguably overshadows all of the above: Brexit.

It's clear that Cameron views the referendum result as a negative mark on his premiership. He gambled and failed to win. The nation remains divided as to whether Brexit was the right decision. But either way, the result of the referendum will define much of his legacy. The full consequences of the Brexit vote are still unknown. But already there is talk of another independence referendum in Scotland, which I believe would be tragic.

Cameron may have failed on the EU referendum (as well as other key political issues) but no one achieves everything they set out to achieve. No one can point to a perfect record in government.

Whether you liked Mr Cameron or not, what we should do as Christians is to earnestly pray for Theresa May (yet another Prime Minister who professes a Christian faith) and her government as we now move forward. For Mr Cameron, his time in the spotlight is over. For Mrs May, her challenge is only just beginning.

James Mildred is the Press Officer for CARE (Christian Action Research and Education) and writes in a personal capacity.

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