Sajid Javid
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid speaking at the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference in London, during his previous role as business secretary. Reuters

Civil servants and public office should swear an oath of allegiance to "British values", Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Javid said those who do not adhere to such values "struggle to play a positive role" in society.

Holders of public office "should lead by example" in supporting those values – which included freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom from abuse – he said.

Javid's comments were in response to a report by Dame Louise Casey, which warned of increasing levels of ethnic segregation amid the "unprecedented pace and scale of immigration".

Writing in the Sunday Times, he said: "So when I talk about integrating into British life or embracing British values, I'm not demanding that everyone drinks tea, watches cricket and bobs up and down at the Last Night of the Proms.

"I'm talking about tolerating the views of others, even if you disagree with them. About believing in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from abuse. I'm talking about a belief in equality, democracy and the democratic process. And about respect for the law, even if you think the law is an ass. Because if you do disagree, you can change it. That's what freedom and democracy are all about."

Casey originally proposed the loyalty oath to British values, which Javid endorsed in his piece for the Times. This could extend to those working in the NHS and the BBC.

However, Casey's report was widely criticised for a greater focus on Muslims than any other segment of society.

A Guardian editorial in response to the Casey Report said: "It is odd that her inquiry focuses almost totally on Britain's Muslim communities, largely from Pakistan, and who mostly came to the UK more than 20 years ago.

"She has far less to say about the new Polish, Romanian or eastern European communities who have made up the bulk of Britain's immigrants over the past 15 years. She mentions Muslims 249 times in her report, but there are only 14 references to Polish communities."

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said the report was "championed by those who pursue a divisive agenda" and called it a "missed opportunity".

Harun Khan, secretary general of the MCB, said: "We need to improve integration, and it needs to involve the active participation of all Britons, not just Muslims.

"As former Prime Minister David Cameron has stated, 'integration is a two-way street'. The report has little discussion on white flight, and could have delved deeper into the economic structural barriers to integration."

Javid said he would respond in full to Casey's recommendations next spring.