MP for Harrow East Bob Blackman calls for public holidays to mark Eid and Diwali

MP calls for public holidays to mark  Eid and Diwali

MP calls for public holidays to mark Eid and Diwali

First published in News
Last updated
Harrow Times: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

An MP has spoken in Parliament giving his support to a campaign to make Eid and Diwali public holidays.

Harrow East MP Bob Blackman led the debate yesterday supporting a national petition that has gathered more than 123,000 signatures.

Campaigners have called for the important dates in the Hindu and Muslim calendars to be formally recognised as public holidays.

After the debate, Mr Blackman said: “This is one of the largest e-petitions we’ve ever had and I felt it was extremely important to ensure that it received its deserved time in Parliament.

“I believe very passionately that community barriers and prejudices are best broken down when religions and their festivals are opened out for everyone to enjoy and celebrate.

“We have fewer public holidays in this country than almost everywhere else in the world, and I feel that recognising dates of importance to our Hindu and Muslim communities – the second and third largest religious communities in our country – would be an important statement of recognition of their place in Britain today.”

The petition was previously rejected by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

In response to the petition a spokesman said: “The Government is grateful for this e-petition. We are very aware of the importance of these festivals, which are widely celebrated in the UK.

“We regret however that we cannot agree to create new bank or public holidays to mark these festivals.

“The Government regularly receives requests for additional bank and public holidays to celebrate a variety of occasions including religious festivals.

“However the current pattern is well established and accepted.

“While we appreciate a new national holiday may benefit some communities and sectors, the cost to the economy remains considerable and any changes to the current arrangements would not take place without a full consultation.”

The petition will officially close on August 12 and the calls for new bank holidays can only move forward now if they are attached to a private members bill.

Comments (15)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:45pm Tue 22 Jul 14

gusgreen says...

What a load of rubbish,the last time I looked this was still England and,in spite of all the political efforts to change this country,still a majority WASP nation.
If we must have more holidays then a Trafalgar day or a veterans day in November would be far more fitting.
If the minority religions want to celebrate their "days" then I am sure that there are many,many countries around the world that would not only accommodate them but welcome them with open arms.

Or am I right in believing that the country of my birth,England,now no longer exists!!!!!!!!!!!
What a load of rubbish,the last time I looked this was still England and,in spite of all the political efforts to change this country,still a majority WASP nation. If we must have more holidays then a Trafalgar day or a veterans day in November would be far more fitting. If the minority religions want to celebrate their "days" then I am sure that there are many,many countries around the world that would not only accommodate them but welcome them with open arms. Or am I right in believing that the country of my birth,England,now no longer exists!!!!!!!!!!! gusgreen
  • Score: 6

8:35am Wed 23 Jul 14

Anthony Harrow says...

Some of the Antics that MP's will get up to get Votes Next year.

It's about time that they did what the people want! and not what they think that we want a total bunch of idiots and Liars.

They should be paid on Productivity! oh then they would not get paid at all.
Some of the Antics that MP's will get up to get Votes Next year. It's about time that they did what the people want! and not what they think that we want a total bunch of idiots and Liars. They should be paid on Productivity! oh then they would not get paid at all. Anthony Harrow
  • Score: 11

9:23am Wed 23 Jul 14

SSSRRR says...

@gusgreen: Our acknowledging and appreciating the work of others, who may be minorities, by providing them a day off on their most important festivals will not in any way diminish the existence of England. (What a bizarre connection between the state of England and festivals!) Ironically, Christmas holidays are provided in nations where Christians are the minority and I am sure were it not, you may have felt discriminated against or disrespected. This is the only country where the such acts of respect are not reciprocated institutionally. Further, how insensitive and naive of you to demand fellow British citizens (of another faith) move to another country because it does not suit your idea of what England is or they are of a faith that is not the majority faith!! Really, you need to move on from the last century!
@gusgreen: Our acknowledging and appreciating the work of others, who may be minorities, by providing them a day off on their most important festivals will not in any way diminish the existence of England. (What a bizarre connection between the state of England and festivals!) Ironically, Christmas holidays are provided in nations where Christians are the minority and I am sure were it not, you may have felt discriminated against or disrespected. This is the only country where the such acts of respect are not reciprocated institutionally. Further, how insensitive and naive of you to demand fellow British citizens (of another faith) move to another country because it does not suit your idea of what England is or they are of a faith that is not the majority faith!! Really, you need to move on from the last century! SSSRRR
  • Score: -6

9:33am Wed 23 Jul 14

Harrow Rani says...

And if you are Jewish?
And if you are Jewish? Harrow Rani
  • Score: 3

11:38am Wed 23 Jul 14

gusgreen says...

SSSRRR wrote:
@gusgreen: Our acknowledging and appreciating the work of others, who may be minorities, by providing them a day off on their most important festivals will not in any way diminish the existence of England. (What a bizarre connection between the state of England and festivals!) Ironically, Christmas holidays are provided in nations where Christians are the minority and I am sure were it not, you may have felt discriminated against or disrespected. This is the only country where the such acts of respect are not reciprocated institutionally. Further, how insensitive and naive of you to demand fellow British citizens (of another faith) move to another country because it does not suit your idea of what England is or they are of a faith that is not the majority faith!! Really, you need to move on from the last century!
What utter tripe you have come out with, you say that this is the only country were such acts of respect are not reciprocated institutionally, utter rubbish!
Tell me what other major countries not majority faith based recognise these events with nation holidays?
Immigrants to this country and their descendants come here for a better lifestyle ,or why come at all, so they should respect our way of life and traditions as they would demand if we went to theirs not expect this country to change to suit them,
As far as I am concerned all religion should be removed from the state sector and be consigned to the mumbo jumbo that it is!
They all think they are the one and only faith and that they are right therefore by definition they are all wrong and as far as me coming into this century maybe if all the followers of fairy tails from thousands of years ago got real 95% of the wars and killing in the world today would cease and the world would be a safer place!
[quote][p][bold]SSSRRR[/bold] wrote: @gusgreen: Our acknowledging and appreciating the work of others, who may be minorities, by providing them a day off on their most important festivals will not in any way diminish the existence of England. (What a bizarre connection between the state of England and festivals!) Ironically, Christmas holidays are provided in nations where Christians are the minority and I am sure were it not, you may have felt discriminated against or disrespected. This is the only country where the such acts of respect are not reciprocated institutionally. Further, how insensitive and naive of you to demand fellow British citizens (of another faith) move to another country because it does not suit your idea of what England is or they are of a faith that is not the majority faith!! Really, you need to move on from the last century![/p][/quote]What utter tripe you have come out with, you say that this is the only country were such acts of respect are not reciprocated institutionally, utter rubbish! Tell me what other major countries not majority faith based recognise these events with nation holidays? Immigrants to this country and their descendants come here for a better lifestyle ,or why come at all, so they should respect our way of life and traditions as they would demand if we went to theirs not expect this country to change to suit them, As far as I am concerned all religion should be removed from the state sector and be consigned to the mumbo jumbo that it is! They all think they are the one and only faith and that they are right therefore by definition they are all wrong and as far as me coming into this century maybe if all the followers of fairy tails from thousands of years ago got real 95% of the wars and killing in the world today would cease and the world would be a safer place! gusgreen
  • Score: 3

12:43pm Wed 23 Jul 14

BarnetSteve says...

Lets scrap all religious bank holidays. Most of us don't practise a religion, with Easter and Christmas now just a commercial free for all anyway.
I'd happily exchange all my religious holidays for 5 days of my choosing, then we could all take the days relevant to our religion if we want or days that suit us rather than an outdated concept that the nation stops work on specific days of the year.
Lets scrap all religious bank holidays. Most of us don't practise a religion, with Easter and Christmas now just a commercial free for all anyway. I'd happily exchange all my religious holidays for 5 days of my choosing, then we could all take the days relevant to our religion if we want or days that suit us rather than an outdated concept that the nation stops work on specific days of the year. BarnetSteve
  • Score: 3

3:00pm Wed 23 Jul 14

Skhan13 says...

Nice try Blackman. I'd like to see you guess which day Eid is falling on in a few days, seeing as its dependent on the new moon the night before. Is it on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday? We won't know till the day before. So how will that work when you are trying to get us 'on side'. I have used my holiday allowance for Eid. As for all the atheists posting. Snore off. Don't complain about religions which are growing faster than how quickly churches are closing down because NOBODY GOES ANYMORE. Typical humans, only start complaining when something is 'taken away' yet when they had it they did sod all and couldn't care less at the time.
Nice try Blackman. I'd like to see you guess which day Eid is falling on in a few days, seeing as its dependent on the new moon the night before. Is it on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday? We won't know till the day before. So how will that work when you are trying to get us 'on side'. I have used my holiday allowance for Eid. As for all the atheists posting. Snore off. Don't complain about religions which are growing faster than how quickly churches are closing down because NOBODY GOES ANYMORE. Typical humans, only start complaining when something is 'taken away' yet when they had it they did sod all and couldn't care less at the time. Skhan13
  • Score: -2

8:24am Thu 24 Jul 14

blueharrow says...

Big Bob showing his true colours...10 months out from the GE and he is trying to sure up the vote where ever he can. if anyone for the communities that celebrate these festivals falls for this attempt to buy their vote then I feel very sorry for them. generally speaking, surely we should concentrate on making st georges day a national holiday first, before affording such generosity on minority festivals?
Big Bob showing his true colours...10 months out from the GE and he is trying to sure up the vote where ever he can. if anyone for the communities that celebrate these festivals falls for this attempt to buy their vote then I feel very sorry for them. generally speaking, surely we should concentrate on making st georges day a national holiday first, before affording such generosity on minority festivals? blueharrow
  • Score: 8

6:32pm Thu 24 Jul 14

DJFearRoss says...

Another stupid idea by a member of the politically elite. In an Islamic State the penalty for leaving Islam for Christianity would be death. Yes, not a strange look, or a slap on the wrist. Yet you believe that by offering them Eid as a public holiday will suddenly make them think how tolerant we are.

Muslims have the highest unemployment rates, '31% of working-age men were economically inactive, as were 69% of working-age women'. Yet, are STILL have the largest families and are most likely to rely on council provided accommodation. There's a lot of bridges to be built but it certainly isn't from our end.
Another stupid idea by a member of the politically elite. In an Islamic State the penalty for leaving Islam for Christianity would be death. Yes, not a strange look, or a slap on the wrist. Yet you believe that by offering them Eid as a public holiday will suddenly make them think how tolerant we are. Muslims have the highest unemployment rates, '31% of working-age men were economically inactive, as were 69% of working-age women'. Yet, are STILL have the largest families and are most likely to rely on council provided accommodation. There's a lot of bridges to be built but it certainly isn't from our end. DJFearRoss
  • Score: 4

11:40am Fri 25 Jul 14

Skhan13 says...

DJFearRoss wrote:
Another stupid idea by a member of the politically elite. In an Islamic State the penalty for leaving Islam for Christianity would be death. Yes, not a strange look, or a slap on the wrist. Yet you believe that by offering them Eid as a public holiday will suddenly make them think how tolerant we are.

Muslims have the highest unemployment rates, '31% of working-age men were economically inactive, as were 69% of working-age women'. Yet, are STILL have the largest families and are most likely to rely on council provided accommodation. There's a lot of bridges to be built but it certainly isn't from our end.
Actually I think you will find everyone in Tower Hamlets is a bum regardless of religion. I am a Muslim, I have a job. My brother is a doctor - who again has taken Eid out of his holiday allowance. Get your facts STRAIGHT. Everyone in my house works and always has done. My parents BOUGHT the council house they were given when moving here as soon as they were able. Did not ponce off benefits even ONCE. So seriously, stop tarring us all with the same brush. You will actually find many many top professionals are Muslims - doctors, lawyers etc If you want to leave Islam you will not be killed. Stop letting your easily manipulated mind be brainwashed by what you read in the media. We say Allah is most merciful and all forgiving, but wait, then you are saying we want to kill everyone? I think YOU and people like you are the ones burning bridges. Look at your pathetic rant going completely off topic to attack Muslims. When the joke is that this article is also about Hindu's. Yet not ONE person has mentioned anything about them.
[quote][p][bold]DJFearRoss[/bold] wrote: Another stupid idea by a member of the politically elite. In an Islamic State the penalty for leaving Islam for Christianity would be death. Yes, not a strange look, or a slap on the wrist. Yet you believe that by offering them Eid as a public holiday will suddenly make them think how tolerant we are. Muslims have the highest unemployment rates, '31% of working-age men were economically inactive, as were 69% of working-age women'. Yet, are STILL have the largest families and are most likely to rely on council provided accommodation. There's a lot of bridges to be built but it certainly isn't from our end.[/p][/quote]Actually I think you will find everyone in Tower Hamlets is a bum regardless of religion. I am a Muslim, I have a job. My brother is a doctor - who again has taken Eid out of his holiday allowance. Get your facts STRAIGHT. Everyone in my house works and always has done. My parents BOUGHT the council house they were given when moving here as soon as they were able. Did not ponce off benefits even ONCE. So seriously, stop tarring us all with the same brush. You will actually find many many top professionals are Muslims - doctors, lawyers etc If you want to leave Islam you will not be killed. Stop letting your easily manipulated mind be brainwashed by what you read in the media. We say Allah is most merciful and all forgiving, but wait, then you are saying we want to kill everyone? I think YOU and people like you are the ones burning bridges. Look at your pathetic rant going completely off topic to attack Muslims. When the joke is that this article is also about Hindu's. Yet not ONE person has mentioned anything about them. Skhan13
  • Score: 1

4:02pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Sonoo Malkani says...

I expect I am risking all sorts of abuse by joining in this conversation.Why does anybody feel the need to insult another just because they don't like what somebody proposes.Surely,ther
e is enough trouble in the world without man-made nastiness.No need to add fuel to the fire.Reflect peacefully before commenting.

It's obvious huge numbers of Hindus and Muslims have expressed much feeling about these holidays which they hold dear, which is why MP Bob Blackman chose to debate this in Parliament.That's an excellent starting point.

However,if the government has sound economic reasons for not going ahead with this,we should listen carefully to their decision after August 12,and not go beserk.It seems there is a process for getting this considered ---a Private Member's bill to which the petition needs to be attached.A FULL consultation is essential.Please,let
's calm down!

I happen to be a British citizen and a Hindu.I can only state what happens in India--my country of origin.We have so many different religious holidays that the country would grind to a complete halt if we had them all declared "National holidays".So,we are allowed in India to have "SECTIONAL HOLIDAYS" which means each community has the opportunity to take time out to be with their families and celebrate as they see fit.

Of course,In India,we have many National holidays such as Diwali in addition to these special days.By the way,we all get Christmas holidays.No one complains.We are happy to simply celebrate and rejoice with as many communities as we can.

I know you will say this is NOT India.Totally agree.We need not copy anybody but no harm in considering other options.Please let us not get carried away by SUGGESTIONS/REQUESTS made by communities who feel they have stake in the country they now belong to and passionately express what matters to them.

We are a living,breathing democracy and must be ready to speak freely ---in a responsible fashion,minus abuse and disrespect.

Very humbly written by a Hindu from Harrow.Kindly excuse any errors regarding holidays in India since Harrow has been home for many decades.

I cannot begin to understand why we are all getting so heated up and going off at a tangent.Please let us not behave in such an immature fashion and instead remember the sensitivities of ALL our communities minority or otherwise,which in turn makes up the WHOLE of the COMMUNITY OF HARROW.Let's stop being horrid and be good Harrovians instead.
I expect I am risking all sorts of abuse by joining in this conversation.Why does anybody feel the need to insult another just because they don't like what somebody proposes.Surely,ther e is enough trouble in the world without man-made nastiness.No need to add fuel to the fire.Reflect peacefully before commenting. It's obvious huge numbers of Hindus and Muslims have expressed much feeling about these holidays which they hold dear, which is why MP Bob Blackman chose to debate this in Parliament.That's an excellent starting point. However,if the government has sound economic reasons for not going ahead with this,we should listen carefully to their decision after August 12,and not go beserk.It seems there is a process for getting this considered ---a Private Member's bill to which the petition needs to be attached.A FULL consultation is essential.Please,let 's calm down! I happen to be a British citizen and a Hindu.I can only state what happens in India--my country of origin.We have so many different religious holidays that the country would grind to a complete halt if we had them all declared "National holidays".So,we are allowed in India to have "SECTIONAL HOLIDAYS" which means each community has the opportunity to take time out to be with their families and celebrate as they see fit. Of course,In India,we have many National holidays such as Diwali in addition to these special days.By the way,we all get Christmas holidays.No one complains.We are happy to simply celebrate and rejoice with as many communities as we can. I know you will say this is NOT India.Totally agree.We need not copy anybody but no harm in considering other options.Please let us not get carried away by SUGGESTIONS/REQUESTS made by communities who feel they have stake in the country they now belong to and passionately express what matters to them. We are a living,breathing democracy and must be ready to speak freely ---in a responsible fashion,minus abuse and disrespect. Very humbly written by a Hindu from Harrow.Kindly excuse any errors regarding holidays in India since Harrow has been home for many decades. I cannot begin to understand why we are all getting so heated up and going off at a tangent.Please let us not behave in such an immature fashion and instead remember the sensitivities of ALL our communities minority or otherwise,which in turn makes up the WHOLE of the COMMUNITY OF HARROW.Let's stop being horrid and be good Harrovians instead. Sonoo Malkani
  • Score: -3

9:50pm Fri 25 Jul 14

betty64 says...

Bob Blackman should recall when Susan Hall said an extra days Holiday for Council staff at Christmas was outrageoues. Does she support this extra holiday
Bob Blackman should recall when Susan Hall said an extra days Holiday for Council staff at Christmas was outrageoues. Does she support this extra holiday betty64
  • Score: 0

10:48am Sat 26 Jul 14

pricklypilgrim says...

Er... 'scuse me, Mr Blackman, I know that 2015 rapidly approaches, but are Christian festivals public holidays in Islamic or Hindu nations?
Er... 'scuse me, Mr Blackman, I know that 2015 rapidly approaches, but are Christian festivals public holidays in Islamic or Hindu nations? pricklypilgrim
  • Score: 9

7:14pm Sun 27 Jul 14

diligaf says...

This man is truly suffering from some form of mental health
This man is truly suffering from some form of mental health diligaf
  • Score: 6

3:58am Fri 1 Aug 14

DJFearRoss says...

@Skhan. Once again it appears that people don't understand the difference between a statistic and an opinion. Quotes from a Muslim website if that helps in your case of believing you're superior.

UK Muslim unemployment stood at 16% (4.7% nationally)
52% of British Muslims owned their own home, compared to 68% nationally. 28% were renting from the Council/Housing Association whilst the national average was 20%
13% of British Muslims had no qualifications compared to 11.6% nationally. 15% were educated to a degree standard compared to 16.4% nationally.

Once again, it is illegal in nearly every Muslim predominate country to publicly renounce your faith and punishable by death in every Islamic State. Again, this is not my opinion, so exactly who is brainwashed here?

"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them" - Works both ways.
@Skhan. Once again it appears that people don't understand the difference between a statistic and an opinion. Quotes from a Muslim website if that helps in your case of believing you're superior. UK Muslim unemployment stood at 16% (4.7% nationally) 52% of British Muslims owned their own home, compared to 68% nationally. 28% were renting from the Council/Housing Association whilst the national average was 20% 13% of British Muslims had no qualifications compared to 11.6% nationally. 15% were educated to a degree standard compared to 16.4% nationally. Once again, it is illegal in nearly every Muslim predominate country to publicly renounce your faith and punishable by death in every Islamic State. Again, this is not my opinion, so exactly who is brainwashed here? "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them" - Works both ways. DJFearRoss
  • Score: 2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree