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Boris Johnson has used his first Christmas message as Prime Minister to promise to defend persecuted Christians around the world.

The message began with Mr Johnson’s acknowledgment that Christmas is primarily a Christian celebration that focuses on the birth of Jesus Christ.

“Christmas Day is, first and foremost, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a day of inestimable importance to billions of Christians the world over,” he said.

Mr Johnson went on to say: “Today of all days, I want us to remember those Christians around the world who are facing persecution. For them, Christmas Day will be marked in private, in secret, perhaps even in a prison cell.

“As Prime Minister, that’s something I want to change. We stand with Christians everywhere, in solidarity, and will defend your right to practice your faith.”

A number of recent reports have revealed Christian persecution is spreading geographically and increasing in severity. A report commissioned by the British Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, found Christians are the most widely persecuted religious group in the world.

In some regions, persecution is so severe, that it’s arguably coming “close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.”

Historian Tom Holland responded to the video, saying: “Good on the Prime Minister for remembering the scale of persecution that Christians have been facing around the world.”

Commentator Katie Hopkins tweeted, “FINALLY Christians around the world have a British leader defending the faith. All we really want for Christmas, Boris, is you.”

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