Archbishop Williams Recalls Tony Blair's 'Bizarre' UK Gambling Stance

(Photo Credit: Lancaster University Video)Former Prime Minister Tony Blair (left), former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore (center) and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams take part in a debate on 'Religion in Public Life' organized by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme at Lancaster University in London on July 24, 2012.

In a wide ranging debate on religion in public life, Rev. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, revisited his opposition to the liberalization of gambling laws in the UK as proponent and former Prime Minister Tony Blair reiterated his view in favor.

In response to a question from an audience member at the London event this week, Rev. Williams recalled a debate in the House of Lords where Blair's proposals were ultimately defeated.

"I did think the idea that you could regenerate an impoverished area of Manchester by importing a supercasino seemed to me utterly, utterly bizarre," Rev. Williams said to applause from the audience.

The wide-ranging conversation marked the end of the series of public debates which were organized by Professor Linda Woodhead, the Rt. Hon Charles Clarke and Dr. Rebecca Catto from Lancaster University.

The event was funded by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme, with the assistance of the think tank Theos.
Blair stood by his original views.

"I didn't agree with the Salvation Army position on gambling. If people could already gamble online, so I didn't see why they should be stopped from doing so here," he said. "In the end, I as prime minister should decide what was best for the country."

Also participating in the debate was former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore.

Click on the link (here) to see the full debate.

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