Britain's Eweida shows off her cross on a chain as she arrives at the High Court in London in 2010
UK government likely to argue that Christians don’t have the rights to wear cross at work REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The government is likely to argue in the European Court of Human Rights that Christians don't have the right to wear the cross at work.

Mrs Nadia Eweida, a former British Airways worker, and Mrs Chaplin, a nurse, faced disciplinary action at work, after they refused to remove their cross. Mrs Eweida said that her employers suspended her for refusing to remove the cross, saying that it was against their airline's code.

And, Mrs Chaplin said that her hospital, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust, barred her from working on wards after she refused to hide her cross, arguing it was a health and safety issue, reported the Telegraph.

Both the women have now taken their case to the European Court of Human rights in Strasbourg, which the government has claimed is "manifestly ill-founded".

The Telegraph reported that a response from the Foreign Office stated, "The government submit that the applicants' wearing of a visible cross or crucifix was not a manifestation of their religion or belief within the meaning of Article 9, and the restriction on the applicants' wearing of a visible cross or crucifix was not an 'interference' with their rights protected by Article 9."

"In neither case is there any suggestion that the wearing of a visible cross or crucifix was a generally recognised form of practising the Christian faith, still less one that is regarded (including by the applicants themselves) as a requirement of the faith," the response added.

The government's response has raised opposition from Catholic Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, saying that it was another example of Christianity becoming sidelined in official life.

"The reasoning is based on a wholly inappropriate judgment of matters of theology and worship about which they can claim no expertise," the Daily Mail quoted Catholic Lord Carey as saying.