Boris Johnson has said Britain can look forward to “brighter days ahead” while Sir Keir Starmer has said “it’s a time for hope and renewal” as the country celebrates Easter.
The Prime Minister said it had been a “very tough” year, but said the holiday brought with it new hope.
“And, this year more than ever, it brings the promise of brighter days ahead for us all,” he added.
Mr Johnson acknowledged many Christians would be unable to celebrate their most important festival in the way they would wish because of coronavirus restrictions.
But he paid tribute to the way in which they had shown the teachings of Christ and the message of his death and resurrection “permeate through every aspect of daily life”.
“That’s why I’ve lost count of the number of church leaders and congregations that have stepped up to support us all in these very challenging times,” he said.
“And having done all that during the darkest days of the pandemic, churches across the UK are now helping us light the path out of it by opening their doors as vaccination centres. It’s really, very moving to see it.”
The Labour leader paid tribute to the Christian community for its work supporting others during the pandemic, saying he was “in awe” of their efforts.
“The Christian community has always been there for the marginalised and for those that need support and help, but over the last year that has shone through so strong and so visible for everybody to see,” Sir Keir said.
“Whether that’s work in churches with foodbanks, I’ve seen so many in our churches supplying food to those that need it in our communities.
“Whether it’s vaccine centres in our church or just the pure volunteering and looking out for people within our communities.
“Thank you for everything you’ve done during this pandemic. Thank you for all that support and community spirit.”
He added: “I know Easter is a special time for Christians. It’s a time for hope and renewal. And, as we come out of this pandemic, I think those values will be so important to us as a nation.” / sky