Archbishop of Canterbury wants reconciliation after Brexit divisions in the UK

Rebecca Smith
Welby says the nation can
Welby says the nation can "flourish" in the wake of a turbulent 2016 (Source: Getty)

The Archbishop of Canterbury will use his New Year message to focus on encouraging Britons to bridge the divisions from the EU referendum.

Justin Welby addresses the nation today and is expected to say: "Last year, we made a decision that will profoundly affect the future of our country - a decision made democratically by the people. The EU referendum was a tough campaign and it has left divisions.

"But I know that if we look at our roots, our history and our culture in the Christian tradition, if we reach back into what is best in this country, we will find a path towards reconciling the differences that have divided us."

Read more: Theresa May vows to get "the right deal" for both Remainers and Leavers

It takes a similar stance to the Prime Minister's New Year message, where she also called for unity after noting the divisive nature of the EU referendum for Britain. Theresa May said the vote "laid bare some further divisions in our country", while seeking to reassure the nation she would be looking to get the right deal, for those who voted to leave the EU, as well as those who voted to stay.

The Archbishop's message will be broadcast on BBC One today at 1.50pm and BBC Two at 4.55pm.

Welby's message comes after former Ukip leader Nigel Farage criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury for comments made at his Christmas Day Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral.

The Archbishop said the events of last year had brought in "a different kind of world" which is far more uncertain and "feels more awash with fear and division".

Read more: The pictures that defined 2016

Though he didn't reference specific events, the remarks came following a year marked by the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's election in the US.

Farage took to Twitter to tell people to "ignore all the negative messages" from the Most Rev Justin Welby.

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