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Chris McAndrew
Chris McAndrew
UK News

Christian MP says churches have been overlooked in lockdown changes

by Heather Preston

A Christian politician has said he finds the Government's failure to include places of worship in its first phase of plans to ease lockdown measures "regrettable".

On Sunday, the Prime Minister announced a conditional three step plan to begin lifting England's coronavirus lockdown.

As part of the first stage, Boris Johnson said that people who could not work from home - including those in the manufacturing and construction industries - should go back to work, while avoiding public transport where possible.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has confirmed that this will apply from Wednesday along with measures to allow unlimited outdoor exercise and meetings with one member not from your household in public parks, as long as social distancing is observed.

Churches have been banned from meeting physically since social distancing measures were introduced. 

A government document later confirmed that churches would not be able to open until 4th July at the earliest.

Conservative MP for St Ives and West Cornwall, Derek Thomas says the importance of physical church gatherings has been underestimated.

He told Premier: "I think this is an area that we'll look back on with great regret. 

"We've underestimated as a country, how important the physical gathering of Christians together and other faiths is to people and how important it is to their wellbeing and social interaction. 

"We're very concerned about people's mental health and ability to stay connected and to support each other and the church in the UK is a fantastic place for that and we've kind of accepted maybe too easily that that can't happen at the moment."

Thomas says he's made numerous calls for the Government to prioritise the reintroduction of church meetings.

"They need to find ways of allowing Christians to meet again and for churches to operate again, whatever faith people might have. And so I hope they do that. I hope that they don't just take it for granted, that it's not important and that we'll just behave because, of course, we will respect those that are put in authority over us. 

"My message to government is, please recognise the value of meeting together for faith groups, and enable that to happen, but again, still in a safe and sensible way," he said.

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