UK can look forward to 'brighter days ahead', PM says in Easter message

4 April 2021, 07:34 | Updated: 4 April 2021, 14:22

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Britain can look forward to "brighter days ahead" despite the challenges of the past 12 months, Boris Johnson has said in his Easter message.

The prime minister acknowledged that it had been a "very tough" year but said the Easter holiday and weeks ahead brought a fresh wave of optimism.

"This has been a very tough 12 months. But, as ever, the arrival of Easter brings with it new hope," he said.

"And, this year more than ever, it brings the promise of brighter days ahead for us all."

However, the UK leader noted that coronavirus restrictions meant many Christians would once again be prevented from properly celebrating their most important festival in traditional ways.

But he paid tribute to the way in which they had shown the teachings of Christ and the message of his death and resurrection "permeate through every aspect of daily life".

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Boris Johnson has said Britain can look forward to brighter days ahead in his Easter message
Boris Johnson has said Britain can look forward to brighter days ahead in his Easter message. Picture: PA

"That's why I've lost count of the number of church leaders and congregations that have stepped up to support us all in these very challenging times," he said.

"Millions of Good Samaritans, each of them showing what loving thy neighbour as thyself really looks like in 21st century Britain.

"And having done all that during the darkest days of the pandemic, churches across the UK are now helping us light the path out of it by opening their doors as vaccination centres. It's really, very moving to see it."

Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also paid tribute to the Christian community for its work supporting others during the pandemic.

In his Easter message, the Labour leader said he was "in awe" of their efforts over the past 12 months.

"The Christian community has always been there for the marginalised and for those that need support and help, but over the last year that has shone through so strong and so visible for everybody to see," he said.

Read more: PM says people cannot meet up indoors even if they are vaccinated

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"Whether that's work in churches with foodbanks, I've seen so many in our churches supplying food to those that need it in our communities.

"Whether it's vaccine centres in our church or just the pure volunteering and looking out for people within our communities.

"Thank you for everything you've done during this pandemic. Thank you for all that support and community spirit."

He added: "I know Easter is a special time for Christians. It's a time for hope and renewal. And, as we come out of this pandemic, I think those values will be so important to us as a nation."

Elsewhere, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she is "deeply moved by the work of Christians" who will not be able to "come together in the usual way to celebrate Christ's resurrection" this Easter.

Issuing her Easter message, Ms Sturgeon praised the role of Christian values during the coronavirus crisis and the sacrifices made by faith communities.

Reflecting on the "joy and hope of the Easter message", she wished Christians celebrating in churches and at home a "happy, healthy and peaceful Easter".

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross also wished people a "happy and peaceful Easter", while Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said there is a "sense of hope and optimism" during the holiday. The Scottish Greens' Ross Greer MSP said the party "send our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Easter today".