By Andrew Grice, Independent

Nick Clegg has called for the separation of the church and state in England – before the idea was immediately rejected by David Cameron.

The Deputy Prime Minister, who is an atheist, said disestablishing the Church of England would be “better for Anglicans” but admitted such a change would not happen overnight. “In the long run, having the state and the church bound up with each other, as we do in this country, I think it would be better for the church and better for people of faith and better for Anglicans if the church and the state were, over time, to stand on their own two separate feet,” he said.

But Mr Clegg defended Mr Cameron’s decision to describe Britain as a “Christian country,” adding that “all faiths and none” were able to share values of “fair play and tolerance”. The Prime Minister’s comments attracted criticism from 50 intellectuals, scientists, writers and humanists last week.

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Read also: Disestablish the tolerant and cohesive Church of England and we would be a poorer nation for it – Telegraph Editorial

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